14 killed as another major fireworks explosion hits Mexico

At least 14 people died and 30 were injured when an errant firecracker hit a cache of fireworks in the Mexican state of Puebla, triggering a massive blast.

Local authorities said the fireworks were being stored in a home behind a church ahead of a May 15 religious celebration in San Isidro, a rural village about 150 miles east of Mexico City.

In Mexico, where festivals and holidays are frequently celebrated with fireworks, accidental blasts with deadly consequences have become a common occurrence.

In December, a series of thunderous explosions tore through an open-air fireworks market outside Mexico City, leaving at least 29 dead and 72 injured.

That same market, known as San Pablito, had been rocked by two previous blasts — in 2005 and 2006 — that left dozens of shoppers and vendors injured but nobody dead.

Similar explosions have happened across Latin America, where certain festivals are marked by continuous blasts of firecrackers for days on end. In Lima, Peru, more than 250 people were killed in a 2001 explosion in the city’s biggest fireworks market.

Photos of the site of Monday’s blast show the two-story home almost completely destroyed, with only a few concrete walls remaining. A mangled bicycle can be seen in the smoldering remains, along with a painting of Jesus and a pair of tiny children’s shoes.

Eleven of those killed in the incident were minors, said Javier Lozano, a spokesman for the state of Puebla.

Despite frequent and deadly accidents, data show Mexicans continue to spend about $10 million each month on fireworks nationwide.

During the high season between August and Christmas, people in Mexico state buy more than 100 tons of fireworks, according to officials there.

Puebla Gov. Tony Gali offered his condolences Tuesday, pledging his government’s total support to the poor village where the blast took place.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, in a tweet after the explosion, expressed his sympathies to those who died in Monday’s “tragic accident.”

Twitter: @katelinthicum


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