Experts scour site of deadly Mexico fireworks market blaze

The vast majority of the market's 300 stalls were completely destroyed by the explosions.
The vast majority of the market’s 300 stalls were completely destroyed by the explosions.

By Noe Torres / Reuters

Teams of forensic investigators pored over the charred remains of fireworks market outside Mexico City on Wednesday after a series of blasts a day earlier killed at least 31 people and injured dozens more in a disaster marked by disbelief and tears.

Videos of the blasts at the San Pablito market 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.

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

Eruviel Avila, the state’s governor, said the explosions injured at least 72 people while another 53 remained missing.

“Everything was destroyed, it was very ugly and many bodies were thrown all over the place, including a lot of children. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said 24-year-old housewife Angelica Avila as tears ran down her face.

The federal attorney general’s office opened an investigation, saying in a statement late on Tuesday that six separate blasts kicked off the destruction.

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