Forensic investigators are scouring the charred remains of a fireworks market outside Mexico City after a powerful chain-reaction explosion ripped through its stalls, killing at least 31 people and leaving dozens more badly burned.
The third such blast to ravage the market on the northern outskirts of Mexico’s capital since 2005 sent up a towering plume of smoke that was lit up by a staccato of bangs and flashes of light. Once the smoke cleared, the open-air bazaar was reduced to a stark expanse of ash, rubble and the charred metal of fireworks stands, casting a pall over the country’s Christmas season.
Authorities have not yet said what may have caused the explosions which took place in Mexico state, which rings the capital.
Mexico state health officials said about 60 people were hospitalized for injuries from Tuesday’s explosion, including for severe burns, in some cases over 90% of their bodies. On Wednesday, 47 people remained hospitalized, among them 10 children.
Mexico state chief prosecutor Alejandro Gómez said on Wednesday that the death toll had risen to 31, after several people died at local hospitals, and 70 people were injured.