Rescuers were always looking for corpses – or survivors – in the burning rubble of the San Pablito market on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tultepec.
Mexico has been working to identify the charred bodies left by an explosion that killed at least 32 people on its largest fireworks market, as authorities investigated what caused the multicolored destruction. Rescuers were always looking for corpses – or survivors – in the burning rubble of the San Pablito market on the outskirts of Mexico City, Tultepec.
Scared family members were walking outside the site of the bomb firmly guarded, seeking information about their loved ones. Concepcion Hernandez said she had no news of her mother, 65, and her brother, 29, since the explosion on Tuesday afternoon. “They came to buy fireworks for their store. It was their first time here, “she said with tears. We do not know. Another family was looking for two missing children whose mother and grandmother were killed in the explosion.
At the time of the explosion, the market was filled with customers purchasing pyrotechnics for traditional end-of-year festivals. Christmas and New Year celebrations in many Latin American countries often end with a free firework display. But the holiday season has taken a horrible turn. “I thought we were all going to die,” said Luis Hernandez, 26, at the store where he has assembled fireworks for the past 12 years. “People were running, children screaming, many burned people walking around, not knowing what to do, and we did not know what to do, because we were afraid the explosions would start again.”
Other survivors described infernal scenes of burning people, including children, who were rushing to the market as blue, red and white explosions illuminated the sky. Neighboring houses and vehicles were also severely damaged. “I thought my house had collapsed,” said resident Artemio Aguilar as he cleaned the fireworks on his street.
The remnants of the market resembled something of a post-apocalyptic film, with little to stand in the burning ruins. Hundreds of soldiers and policemen kept the entrances, the main being still crowned with a giant sign that reads: “Open year round.
Forensic experts are conducting DNA testing to identify seriously burned remains, with only 14 victims identified so far, said Secretary of State Jose Manzur. Eight victims were minors, officials said. Forty-seven people injured in the explosion were hospitalized, many with severe burns covering their bodies. Three seriously burned children were to be transferred to a specialty hospital in Galveston, Texas.
President Enrique Pena Nieto observed a minute of silence for the victims during a visit to a hospital in central Mexico.