Thursday, June 13, 2024

24 killed, 49 injured in Tultepec fireworks explosions; state halts production

There were 24 people killed in yesterday’s fireworks explosions in Tultepec, state of México, 22 of whom were emergency personnel and others who had arrived on the scene to provide assistance after the first blast at about 9:24am.

There were four explosions in total — three came in quick succession 20 minutes after the first.

“The firefighters thought there would be no more explosions, but the biggest was still to come . . .” said a fireworks maker at the scene.

Seventeen people were killed in the explosions; the other seven died later in hospital. Another 49 people were wounded.

The state interior secretary suspended all fireworks manufacturing and sales in Tultepec, known as the fireworks capital of Mexico, in preparation for an investigation.

Alejandro Ozuna Rivero said civilian and military authorities, Civil Protection, state police, justice personnel and other government representatives had gathered in the municipality to conduct a full inspection of permits and check for irregularities in the production of fireworks.

There are an estimated 1,300 artisanal fireworks makers in Tultepec, about half of which are believed to operate within private homes without authorization issued by the Secretariat of Defense.

One resident said yesterday that gunpowder and other materials are stored in homes illegally and under dangerous conditions. Many are stockpiling supplies in preparation for the high season for fireworks between September and December.

Yesterday’s tragedy was the second worst in Tultepec’s history. The local fireworks market was destroyed in a blast that killed 42 in December 2016.

The Mexican Pyrotechnics Institute says 39 people have died and 135 injured in 56 fireworks explosions in the past year and a half. A large number of those explosions occurred in fireworks workshops that operate illegally thanks to corruption, the newspaper El Universal reported.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

Tragedia en Tultepec, Edomex
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