September 15, 2005

Over 100 hurt in Mexico firework blast

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - More than 100 people were injured
in a series of blasts at a fireworks market outside Mexico City
on Thursday and several people may have died, Mexican media

"It just got bigger and bigger, fireworks, fireworks,"
sobbed a man on the scene, interviewed on the radio while
searching for two missing brothers.

One radio station said there were several charred bodies at
the site in the town of Tultepec but emergency services could
not immediately confirm that.

The tragedy came as celebrations began for the September 15
independence day, when Mexicans fire often poorly-made
fireworks into the air.

Television footage from a helicopter showed a charred,
smoldering area the size of a football pitch where emergency
workers fought sporadic fires amid heavy smoke.

People scrambled to move wreckage amid hundreds of stalls
burned to the ground and the charred wrecks of cars.

A radio reporter described people fleeing the scene with
what he said were serious burns. Exploding fireworks could be
heard in the background.

Fireworks are sold by the tens of thousands in
mid-September in Mexico, many in informal markets not
controlled by authorities.

Twenty-eight people died after a blast at a street market
selling fireworks in the coastal city of Veracruz on New Year's
Eve, 2002.