Fireworks explosion kills at least 31 in Mexico

The cause of the explosion in Tultepec at Mexico's biggest fireworks market is unknown.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Images from local media show smoke rising from the scorched ground after the explosion on December 20, 2016.

Updated Dec 21, 2016

An explosion ripped through Mexico's largest fireworks market on Tuesday killing at least 31 people and injuring 72 others, emergency officials said.

The blast occurred at the San Pablito fireworks market in Tultepec, about 32 kilometres (20 miles) north of Mexico City.

Isidro Sanchez, the head of Tultepec emergency services, said the death toll was preliminary as rescue workers scoured the site.

Images broadcast by local media showed smoke rising from the scorched ground and fireworks stands.

National Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente told local TV that the explosion also damaged nearby homes.

"The sound of blasts started to go off and we thought it was a nearby fireworks workshop," local resident, Alejandra Pretel, said.

But minutes later it became evident that the market was exploding.

"My neighbours said they felt everything shake, but I didn't realise because I was running away," Pretel said.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted his condolences to the families of those killed and his wishes for recovery to those hurt.

TRTWorld and agencies