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Mexico fireworks warehouse blast kills 14, including 11 children

© AFP/File / by German Campos | Aerial view shows a rubble-strewn scene after an explosion at a fireworks warehouse in Mexico's Puebla state, which killed at least 14 people

PUEBLA (MEXICO) (AFP) - 

An explosion at a fireworks warehouse in Mexico killed 14 people, including 11 children, authorities said Tuesday.

The blast struck Monday night in a rural area of central Puebla state, Diodoro Carrasco, a senior official in the state government, told radio station Cinco Radio.

Officials said the tragedy, which wounded 22 people, was the second in just a matter of just months. The state government said in a statement later Tuesday that 11 of those killed "were minors aged between four and 15."

The explosion in the village of San Isidro, 270 kilometers (170 miles) east of Mexico City, came during preparations for a religious festival on May 15, the state government said.

There are people who live in the building where the fireworks were being stored, it said.

The blast was set off by a rocket fired from outside the building that struck the stored pyrotechnic material, the government said.

Army troops and government officials cordoned off the blast site as ambulances rushed in to collect the wounded.

State governor Antonio Gali Fayad expressed his condolences Monday as the scope of the tragedy became clear.

- Tultepec -

Last December, 42 people died and 70 were injured in a series of spectacular explosions at the country's largest fireworks market, in the town of Tultepec outside Mexico City.

In that catastrophe, the sky filled with multicolored smoke as the San Pablito market echoed with the crack and thunder of exploding fireworks.

The market was filled with people shopping for Christmas and New Year's festivities. It was reduced to smoldering ruins.

Survivors described hellish scenes of people on fire, including children, as they ran from the market.

Investigators believe a rocket exploded at that market and set off a chain reaction of other blasts.

Christmas and New Year parties in many Latin American countries often wrap up with a fireworks free-for-all.

The entire Mexican village of Tultepec has specialized in marking fireworks since the 19th century.

The San Pablito market had been rocked by two explosions in the past: In September 2005 ahead of the Independence Day holiday, and again the following year.

Both incidents left dozens of injured, but no fatalities.

The fireworks industry reports nearly $10 million a month in revenue in Mexico.

The deadliest fireworks-related accident anywhere in the past 20 years happened in a shopping center in Peru in 2001 when an explosion in central Lima left 447 people dead or missing and hundreds more injured.

by German Campos

© 2017 AFP