Explosion rips through fireworks market in Tultepec

English 20/12/2016 16:56 State of Mexico Rebeca Jiménez Jacinto and AP Actualizada 17:19
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Similar explosions and fires engulfed the same market in 2005 and again in 2006.

An explosion ripped through Mexico's best-known fireworks market on the northern outskirts of the capital Tuesday, injuring scores of people and sending a huge plume of charcoal-gray smoke billowing into the sky.

At around 2:20 pm, local firefighters rushed to the market and requested backup to fight the blaze and helped those injured at the market, which is known locally as the “fireworks capital.”

The San Pablito Market is the largest of its kind in the country with over 300 stalls and has the appropriate permits needed to sell fireworks from the Ministry of National Defense, according to Armando Cervantes Punzo, the town's director of urban planning. However, despite having the appropriate permits, a fire engulfed the same market in 2005, touching off a chain of explosions that leveled hundreds of stalls just ahead of Mexico's Independence Day. A similar fire at the San Pablito Market also destroyed hundreds of stands in September 2006.

Nearly 2,000 visitors and buyers are thought to have been at the market at the time of the incident due to the holiday season, since many in Mexico traditionally celebrate the holidays — including Christmas and New Year's — by setting off noisy firecrackers and rockets.

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