Nineteen people were killed and at least 40 injured Thursday when a series of explosions ripped through fireworks workshops in a town just north of Mexico City, the AP reports. The dead included four firefighters and two police officers who rushed to the scene after the first explosion, only to be killed by a second wave of blasts. Video shot from a nearby highway showed a massive plume of smoke rising up from the area of the explosions in the town of Tultepec. Other images released by local media showed wrecked buildings and scorched ground in a rural patch of modest homes and small farm plots. Authorities said four small buildings were destroyed.
Luis Felipe Puente, head of Mexico's civil defense agency, said there were four blasts in total and the explosions started at an unauthorized, clandestine workshop and spread as flammable material shot into the air. He said the dead also apparently included one minor and a civil defense worker. "The problem was that after the first explosion, people went running to help, and when the second explosion occurred, these people who ran to help were killed," Puente told the Milenio news network. Many residents in the town make a living by fabricating and selling homemade fireworks, and explosions are a regular occurrence. Dozens have been killed in the area and elsewhere in Mexico in similar explosions.
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