A massive explosion, Tuesday, rocked Mexico’s largest fireworks market, killing not less than 26 people and leaving 70 other persons injured.
Authorities revealed that the conflagration, in the Tultepec suburb, had set off a quickfire series of multicolored explosions which raised a massive cloud of smoke that hung over Mexico City, all through Tuesday.
At the time of the blast, the market was filled with customers who were buying pyrotechnics for traditional end-of-year festivities. In most Latin American countries, Christmas and New Year’s parties are lit up with clattering firework blasts.
Mexico state prosecutor Alejandro Gomez told reporters at the blast site: “We recovered 26 bodies at the scene of the incident,”
Mexico Federal police, had earlier reported that nine persons had lost their lives in the blast, and later tweted that 70 persons were injured in the fire and had been taken to emergency rooms.
Fire crews struggled for close to three hours before bringing the massive inferno under control.
Head of Mexico’s civil protection service, Luis Felipe Puente, said his team had to wait for all the fireworks explosions to stop before it could begin rescue. The damage was simply devastating.
“The entire market is gone,” said Puente.
He described the condition of several injured persons as delicate while searches were in progress to find more casualties who could be trapped in the fire.
Vehicles and houses near the blast site were also badly damaged. The Mexican military were immediately deployed to assist emergency teams transport injured people to hospitals by ambulance and helicopter.
Mexico’s President, Enrique Pena Nieto, came on twitter to relay his condolences to the families of those who had lost their lives and to give his wishes for a quick recovery for the injured.
A local resident, Alejandra Pretel, told AFP: “The sound of blasts started to go off and we thought it was a nearby fireworks workshop.”
But minutes later it became evident that it was the market being destroyed.
“My neighbors said they felt everything shake, but I didn’t realize because I was running away,” she said.
Nigerians who would be using fire crackers to celebrate the yuletide should be wary of the sort of destruction such fireworks could cause.