BFF-58 Fireworks explosions kills 17 in central Mexico: officials

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BFF-58

MEXICO-EXPLOSION

Fireworks explosions kills 17 in central Mexico: officials

MEXICO CITY, July 5, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – At least 17 people were killed in a series of explosions Thursday at fireworks warehouses in central Mexico, including rescue workers who died saving others’ lives, officials said.

The initial explosion occurred around 9:30 am (1430 GMT), then spread to other warehouses just as police and firefighters began attending to the first victims in the city of Tultepec, which is known for its artisanal fireworks and a history of deadly accidents.

“We deeply regret the deaths of those who were killed this morning in La Sucera, Tultepec, including our firefighter and police colleagues who lost their lives saving those of many others,” read a tweet from the Red Cross in the state of Mexico, where Tultepec is located.

Governor Alfredo del Mazo ordered the state interior and health ministries to immediately go to the scene and attend to the victims and their families.

The explosions leveled at least four warehouses before they were brought under control, reported the newspaper Reforma.

Tultepec is known for making the fireworks that Mexicans traditionally use to celebrate holidays and saints’ days. It has been hit by devastating explosions in the past.

In December 2016, 42 people were killed and 70 injured in a series of spectacular explosions at Tultepec’s San Pablito market, the largest fireworks market in the country.

On that occasion, investigators say a rocket exploded at the market and set off a chain reaction of other blasts.

The market, which was filled with people shopping for Christmas and New Year’s festivities, was reduced to smoldering ruins.

The San Pablito market had been rocked by two explosions in the past: in September 2005 and again the following year.

Both those accidents left dozens injured, but no fatalities.

Fourteen people, including 11 children, died in May 2017 in another explosion at a fireworks warehouse in the central village of San Isidro, in Puebla state.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2342hrs