Multiple explosions at a fireworks market in a town north of Mexico City on Tuesday sent a cloud of smoke sky high and left dozens of people wounded, according to various reports.
Just before 3 p.m., a number of explosions reverberated around the center of the San Pablito pyrotechnic market in the municipality of Tultepec in Mexico state, about 20 miles north of Mexico City.
Firefighters and civil-protection forces responded soon, and reports indicate that at least 40 and as many as 70 people were injured by the blasts. Civil-protection authorities put the number of injured at 60, while the federal police said as many as 70 could've been hurt.
Civil-protection sources told Reuters that at least 27 people were killed in the blasts.
Footage of the explosion can be seen below:
National Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente told Milenio TV that some nearby homes had been damaged, and he urged people not to come with in 3 miles of the site. He also said there was no option but to let unexploded fireworks go off.
Mexico state officials said they were focused on the injured and the cause of the explosions was still under investigation. Many people in the area make fireworks for a living, some of them doing so in clandestine work spaces, according to The Guardian.
Police, firefighters, paramedics, military units, and other authorities from surrounding municipalities reportedly mobilized to support officials in San Pablito.
At least 10 ambulances and 50 paramedics from the Red Cross were on the scene of the explosion.
The San Pablito market is the largest in Mexico for the sale of pyrotechnics, home to 300 vendors selling with official permission. The town is also the site of yearly fireworks festival, and visitors and shoppers may have been among the injured.
There have been explosions at the San Pablito market in the past. A September 2005 blast injured 128 vendors and customers. It reopened the following year, but with special regulations on stall construction and fireworks handling.
In 2006 and 2007 there were explosions that destroyed the entire market, but after those incidents security measures were introduced to prevent chain explosions.
Days prior to the blast, the director general of the Mexican Pyrotechnic Institute said that the San Pablito market was the safest fireworks market in Latin America, "with perfectly designed stalls and with sufficient space so that a spark will not cause a chain conflagration."
Footage recorded after the explosion shows emergency crews on the scene, while scattered bursts continue.