Experts scour site of deadly blast at Mexico fireworks market

Videos of the blasts at the busy San Pablito market on Tuesday showed a spectacular flurry of pyrotechnics exploding high into the sky, like rockets in a war zone, as a massive plume of charcoal-gray smoke billowed out from the site

Explosion at the San Pablito fireworks market - Photo: REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
English 21/12/2016 14:50 Reuters Actualizada 16:24

Forensic investigators scoured the charred remains of a fireworks market outside Mexico City on Wednesday after a series of blasts that killed at least 31 people and injured dozens more in a fiery disaster just days before Christmas.

Videos of the blasts at the busy San Pablito market on Tuesday showed a spectacular flurry of pyrotechnics exploding high into the sky, like rockets in a war zone, as a massive plume of charcoal-gray smoke billowed out from the site.

On Wednesday morning, a smell of burning hung over the ashen wasteland that had replaced the market, which was strewn with twisted metal frames and the wreckage of stalls. There was no word yet on what caused the blasts.

"It's a catastrophe," said Guadalupe Sanchez from nearby Cuautitlan Izcalli, as she searched for her uncle, 52, who owned a market stall, and two nephews, aged 15 and 9.

It was the third time in just over a decade that explosions have struck the popular marketplace in Tultepec, home to the country's best-known fireworks shopping and about 20 miles (32 km) north of Mexico City in the adjacent State of Mexico.

A few blackened cars ringed the site, and at one of the exits stood a sign reading "Tultepec, Firework Capital." The market was particularly full on Tuesday as many Mexicans buy fireworks to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.

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