Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico fireworks blast at Tultepec warehouse kills 24

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Media captionThe blasts hit Tultepec, known as Mexico's fireworks capital

A series of explosions at a fireworks depot in Mexico has killed at least 24 people and injured more than 40 others.

The biggest blasts took place as emergency responders arrived at the scene in the town of Tultepec.

Authorities said four firefighters and five police were casualties in the blast, as well as a minor.

The town, about 30km (20 miles) from Mexico City, is known as the country's pyrotechnic capital.

'Terrible blast'

A market in the town has twice been badly damaged by explosions. More than 40 people died in blasts there in 2016.

At the time there were calls for the market to be closed, but President Enrique Peña Nieto promised to rebuild it and help hundreds of local artisans who had lost their livelihoods.

An explosion earlier this year killed seven people.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image copyright Getty Images

Tultepec hosts Mexico's national pyrotechnics festival each year.

The state of Mexico's interior minister, Alejandro Ozuna, called for an "exhaustive review" of all the workshop's permits after the blast, saying the manufacturing "must be regulated" for the people's safety.

The latest incident began at about 09:30 local time (14:30 GMT). Local people described the scene.

"I was having breakfast when there was a terrible blast. We left the house running and I saw a huge white cloud in the sky, as if it were going to rain - except today it rained fire," said resident Alondra Perez, quoted by the AFP news agency.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tultepec makes fireworks for the country's national holidays and saint's days
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The state government called for regulation of the warehouses after the blast

The government of Mexico state said in a statement: "Emergency crews attended the call of the first explosion, when a second incident occurred, killing and injuring members of these groups."

At least four workshops were destroyed, local media said. A fire triggered by the blasts was said to have been brought under control.

Firework accidents are common in Mexico, not least in Tultepec:

  • The town's San Pablito market was badly damaged by explosions ahead of independence day in September 2005 and dozens of people of were injured
  • An explosion in 2006 destroyed part of the market
  • Another incident at the market in December 2016 left 42 dead and 70 injured
  • An explosion in the town on 6 June this year killed seven people.

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