At least 26 people are dead and dozens injured on Tuesday afternoon when a fireworks factory in northeast Mexico exploded. Video of the spectacular scene of destruction quickly circulated on social media as reports about the extent of the disaster began to come in.
The Mexican news outlet La Jornada reports that the explosion occurred around 3 p.m., and it obliterated the San Pablito rocket market, a fixture in Tultepec, located near Mexico City. The mayor of the city, Armando Portugués Fuentes, said there were 60 injured, 13 of them seriously, in addition to the dead. State police say there are 70 injuries, though that number likely isn’t final.
The Red Cross mobilized 25 ambulances, and some of the wounded were taken to Zumpango Specialty Hospital. There are reports that up to 2,000 tourists and buyers were at the market when the explosion occurred, making it likely that some of them were killed or injured by the flames or resulting stampede of people.
Tultepec hosts the National Pyrotechnic Festival and produces almost half of Mexico’s fireworks. The majority of the San Pablito rocket market, which is made up of some 300 stores, was reportedly destroyed in Tuesday’s blast.
It’s unknown what caused the explosion at this time.
According to local reports, there were explosions in the market in 2006 and 2007 that both did some serious damage. Security measures were said to have been put in place to prevent another explosion, so it’s unclear exactly what happened on Tuesday afternoon to cause such destruction.