Mexican fireworks town has a history of explosions

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Firefighters and rescue personnel stand near a destroyed house after an explosion at the San Pablito fireworks market in Tultepec, Mexico on Dec. 20. Photo by Edgard Garrido/Reuters

Firefighters and rescue personnel stand near a destroyed house after an explosion at the San Pablito fireworks market in Tultepec, Mexico on Dec. 20. Photo by Edgard Garrido/Reuters

An explosion that set off a chain reaction in a fireworks market in Mexico on Tuesday destroyed surrounding homes and killed at least 31 people.

The open-air market in Tultepec, north of Mexico City, burned to the ground. Nearly 50 people remained hospitalized for severe burns on Wednesday, including 10 children, the Associated Press reported.

It was the fifth such explosion since 2005 in the San Pablito fireworks market and the ninth since 1997.

Authorities were still investigating the cause of the latest blast on Wednesday morning. Past explosions were attributed to vendors giving customers improper permission to light the fireworks. Precautions that were put in place since the earlier explosions included putting fireworks under glass and building stalls from brick and concrete.

Christmas is a popular time for Mexicans to stock up on fireworks, and San Pablito is one of the most frequented markets.

Surrounding houses were destroyed in an explosion at the San Pablito fireworks market. Photo by Edgard Garrido/Reuters

Surrounding houses were destroyed in an explosion at the San Pablito fireworks market. Photo by Edgard Garrido/Reuters

“We are obviously in the high season,” Tultepec Mayor Armando Portuguez Fuentes told the AP. “There was more product than usual because we are a few days away from Christmas, a few days away from New Year’s, and those are the days when the products made here are consumed the most.”

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