The death toll in a series of explosions at a fireworks market outside Mexico City has risen to 31, an official said Wednesday, as authorities worked to identify badly burned bodies and determine the cause of the tragedy.
More than 80 percent of the 300 stalls at the market were destroyed by the explosion, said state official Jose Manzur. More than 70 people including some children were injured, with many suffering burns across their entire bodies.
On Wednesday, investigators continued to comb through the wreckage of homes destroyed in the explosion.
The blast ripped through the popular San Pablito fireworks market in the city of Tutepec, about 25 miles north of Mexico City, on Tuesday.
This image made from video recorded from a passing auto shows an explosion ripping through the San Pablito fireworks' market in Tultepec, Mexico, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. Dramatic video of the explosion showed a towering plume of smoke that was lit up by a staccato of bangs and flashes of light, the third such incident to ravage the market on the northern outskirts of Mexico's capital since 2005.
It was not immediately clear how the explosion started.
Other survivors described hellish scenes of people on fire, including children, running from the market as blue, red and white explosions lit up the sky.
Sirens wailed and a heavy scent of gunpowder lingered in the air after the afternoon blast at the market, where most of the fireworks stalls were completely leveled.
The fireworks industry is big business in Tultepec, employing hundreds if not thousands in and around the city of 50,000.
The president of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, Alejandra Barrales, noted that fireworks accidents take place regularly including four this year alone. The detonations struck in the run-up to the busy Christmas holiday when many Mexicans stock up on fireworks.
Pena Nieto is the former governor of the State of Mexico, the country's largest which surrounds the capital.
"It's a catastrophe", said Guadalupe Sanchez from nearby Cuautitlan Izcalli, as she searched for her uncle, 52, who owned a market stall, and two nephews, aged 15 and 9.