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December 21, 2016

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Fireworks explosion kills 31 in Mexico City

Debris at the scene, courtesy of the Mexican Red Cross

Debris at the scene, courtesy of the Mexican Red Cross

At least 31 people have died in an explosion at a fireworks market in Mexico City, according to local officials.

The San Pabilto fireworks market in Tultepec, just north of Mexico City, is a major centre for Mexican handcrafted fireworks.

A video from the scene showed a large number of fireworks rocketing into the air as they caught fire.

Most of those who have died have been burned so badly their bodies will have to be identified using DNA testing, according to Eruviel Avila, governer of the State of Mexico.

He said that some children had suffered burns to more than 90% of their bodies and were being sent to Texas for specialised treatment.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known, however this isn’t the first time that explosions have occurred at the San Pablito market.

On the eve of Independence celebrations in September 2005, the market ignited injuring 128 vendors and customers.

At the time, officials blamed customers being given improper permission to ignite explosive items.

Additional safety precautions were introduced the following year, including provisions that all structures must be built of brick and concrete, and that fireworks had to be kept beneath glass and not touched by customers.

Firefighters had to be stationed onsite and regulations were imposed to limit fireworks purchase to 10kg per person.

The president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, tweeted condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

He also said members of the defence forces were assisting in the emergency.


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