July 21, 2018
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Death toll in Mexico fireworks blast climbs to 19

Mexico City, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Firefighters and police were among the 19 people killed Thursday in a fireworks explosion and subsequent fire in the central Mexican city of Tultepec, the Mexico state government said.

The Mexico state emergency services agency confirmed via Twitter that the number of people killed in the explosion had risen to 19, adding that 40 people were injured, who were taken to several hospitals.

"Some of them were taken to a specialized hospital in Zumpango, and others were taken to other hospitals in the area. Some were also taken to Toluca (the state capital) via helicopter, since they required more specialized care," the head of the emergency services agency, Arturo Vilchis, told Milenio television.

The Red Cross said on Twitter that the victims include "firefighters and police officers who saved many lives while sacrificing themselves in the line of duty."

The blaze is under control, though firefighters and other first responders continue to look for victims and dangerous materials among the rubble.

"Some explosive materials are still among the rubble, and they are being removed to prevent another explosion," Vilchis said.

In a message posted on Twitter, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto "deeply" lamented the incident and the loss of life.

"I send my condolences to the family members of those who were killed, and I wish a quick recovery to those who were injured," Peña Nieto said, adding that the Secretariat of Government and the Army were providing assistance to the Mexico state government to address the situation.

Thursday's blast is the third deadly explosion in less than a month in Tultepec, Mexico's fireworks capital.

On June 6, an explosion in a house that was being used to store fireworks left six people dead and eight injured.

Less than three weeks later, another person died and six were injured during a series of explosions in a fireworks warehouse and in two workshops.

The deadliest incident in Tultepec in the last few years took place in Dec. 2016, when a fireworks explosion in the local market killed 42 people.

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