Seven victims of Monday’s fireworks explosion in Puebla remain in hospital, one of whom — a one-year-old baby — is in critical condition.
Interior Secretary Diódoro Carrasco Altamirano said yesterday two of those still being treated are adults and the other five are children aged one to 15.
They are among 22 people who were injured and 14 who were killed when 1,600 fireworks exploded in the town of San Isidro Labrador in the municipality of Chilchotla.
Although the investigation continues, Carrasco said a rocket set off during a celebration Monday evening entered a storeroom in the house in which the fireworks were being kept and triggered the explosion.
The force was enough to cause the roof of the two-story building to collapse, Carrasco said, killing nine people. Five more died later in hospital; 11 minors were among the dead.
The fireworks were being stored in readiness for the town’s annual festival, which celebrates San Isidro Labrador on May 15, and the Serrano family had been elected a year ago to be stewards of the event.
That meant a representation of the saint himself, safeguarded inside a display case, would be kept in their home for a year, and the fireworks, food and and utensils would be stored there, too.
On Monday, children were playing with some surplus rockets in a park adjacent to the Serrano home. One failed to ascend and flew instead into the storeroom where the fireworks had been left.
The explosion, which was heard 10 kilometers away, took nine members of the Serrano family and destroyed their house.
The head of the national Civil Protection office said yesterday that new rules would be drawn up to regulate the management of fireworks so as to prevent further accidents.
Luis Felipe Puente said the proposal is not to prohibit fireworks but to control their use, observing that the manufactur of pyrotechnics supports thousands of families.
Twenty-four people have been killed so far this year in fireworks explosions. One of the worst in recent years was in Tultepec, State of México, in December, when Mexico’s largest fireworks market blew up, killing 42 people.
Rebuilding the market began last Friday. Fireworks vendors and manufacturers said it will duplicate the previous market in size, with space for 300 vendors.
But they were unaware what safety measures will be incorporated to prevent another explosion.
December’s blast has been attributed in part to the lack of enforcement of rules governing the amount of open space that must be left between vendors.