Mexico fireworks market blast kills at least 27, hurts scores

By Reuters/David Alire Garcia, Lizbeth Diaz   December 20, 2016 | 05:20 pm PT
The blast was the third to strike the popular San Pablito marketplace in just over a decade.

At least 27 people died and at least 70 were injured in an explosion at a fireworks market outside the Mexican capital on Tuesday, local authorities said.

The blast was the third to strike the popular San Pablito marketplace in Tultepec, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Mexico City, in just over a decade.

Isidro Sanchez, the head of Tultepec emergency services, said the death toll was preliminary as rescue workers scoured the site. A lack of sufficient security measures had likely caused the blast, he added.

The federal police tweeted the number of people injured.

Local television showed a flurry of multi-colored fireworks exploding in all directions in the early afternoon as a massive plume of smoke rose above the market.

Another video showed people frantically fleeing, while aerial footage revealed charred stalls and destroyed buildings.

The explosion is the latest in a long-running series of fatal explosions and industrial accidents that have roiled Mexico's oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

A blast struck the Tultepec fireworks market in September 2005 just before independence day celebrations, injuring many people. Almost a year later, another detonation gutted the area again.

"I offer my condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this accident and my wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured," President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a tweet.

Pena Nieto is the former governor of the State of Mexico, the country's largest which surrounds the capital, where Tultepec is located. 

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