An explosion ripped through Mexico's best-known fireworks market on the northern outskirts of the capital Tuesday, killing at least 26 people, injuring scores more, and sending a huge plume of charcoal-gray smoke billowing into the sky, reports AP. Mexican Federal Police announced via its official Twitter account the preliminary toll from the afternoon blast at the open-air San Pablito Market in Tultepec, in the State of Mexico. "My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this accident and my wishes for a quick recovery for the injured," said President Enrique Pena Nieto via Twitter. It wasn't clear what went wrong, but it's the third (and worst) blast at the site over the last decade, notes Reuters.
Crescencia Francisco Garcia arrived in the afternoon to buy fireworks and said she was near the middle of the grid of stalls when the explosions began around 2:30pm. "All of a sudden it started booming," the 41-year-old Mexico City resident said. "I and the others surrounding me all took off running." National Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente told Milenio television that some nearby homes were also damaged. The scene remained dangerous and he asked people not to come within 3 miles. Fireworks continued to pop off long after the blast, and Puente added that there was no choice but to let any unexploded fireworks be consumed.