At Least 24 Dead In Fireworks Workshop Explosion In Mexico

A police officer inspects the wreckage of several fireworks workshops in Tultepec, Mexico, Thursday. At least 24 people were killed when a series of explosions ripped through fireworks workshops in a town just north of Mexico City.

Moises Castillo/AP

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Moises Castillo/AP

Updated 1:06 a.m. ET Friday

Two explosions at separate fireworks workshops in Tultepec, Mexico, have left at least 24 people dead and about 49 others injured, according to Mexican government authorities. The region is known for its pyrotechnic industry located about 25 miles outside of Mexico City.

State officials said paramedics and other emergency responders were at the scene of the first explosion caused by an ignited powder keg at about 9:20 a.m. on Thursday, when a second blast went off.

Firemen, paramedics, police officers and good Samaritans who had arrived to help in the initial fire are among the victims.

In all four barrels of gunpowder were detonated and at least four buildings were destroyed by fires, El Poder reported.

Arturo Vilchis, the chief emergency response coordinator for the state told Milenio, the fires have been contained but that officials are meticulously sifting through debris trying to remove any remaining live explosives.

Mexico State Gov. Alfredo del Mazo Maza expressed his condolences to victims and their families over Twitter and in a speech Thursday. He also confirmed that the first explosion was set off by a powder keg.

According to the Public Safety Department, Mazo has instructed state agencies to help cover medical costs and funeral expenses for victims and their families.

President Enrique Peña Nieto also conveyed his sympathies in a tweet, writing, “I profoundly lament the loss of lives … I send my condolences to the victim’s families and wish those injured a quick recovery.”

The latest blast is stirring outrage among citizens across the state and the country who argue the government’s lack of oversight and regulation is to blame for the frequent explosions in the area.

In a Twitter video of the incident, showing billowing plumes of smoke against a clear blue sky, an unidentified man can be heard saying there was similar explosion just eight days ago. The Twitter user, David C. also remarked, “When will authorities learn to establish order?”

Aristegui Noticias reported a similar explosion ripped through the same town on June 25th, killing one person and injuring six others.

In 2016, the San Pablito Market, also in Tultepec, was leveled by explosions. At least 31 people were killed. At the time, officials said the bodies were so badly burned they would have to be identified by DNA testing, according to the BBC.

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