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31 confirmed dead after fireworks explosion


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TULTEPEC, Mexico (AP) — A 3-month-old boy and a 12-year-old girl are among the 31 people confirmed dead after a powerful explosion ripped through a fireworks market near Mexico City yesterday.

Nearly 50 people are still hospitalized, including ten children. A prosecutor says some of the dead were so badly burned that neither their age nor their gender could be immediately determined. He says the death toll could rise -- because 11 people are listed as missing, and some body parts were found at the scene.

It's the third explosion to ravage the market since 2005. It sent up a towering plume of smoke that was lit up by a staccato of bangs and flashes of light. When the smoke cleared, the open-air bazaar had been reduced to ash, rubble and the charred metal of fireworks stands.

A survivor says she was in the middle of the grid of stalls when the thunderous explosions began. She froze, and then took off running through the smoke once she realized everyone was doing so. As she ran she saw people with burns and cuts, and lots of blood. She says, "Everything was catching fire. Everything was exploding."

The governor of Mexico state is vowing to find out who was responsible.

%@AP Links

019-r-07-(sound of people waiting outside the hospital, for news of loved ones who were taken there after a fireworks explosion)--Sound of people waiting outside the hospital for news of loved ones who were taken there after a fireworks explosion. COURTESY: China Central Television ((mandatory on-air credit)) (21 Dec 2016)

<<CUT *019 (12/21/16)££ 00:07

029-c-17-(Peter Orsi, AP correspondent)-"tend to victims"-AP correspondent Peter Orsi reports authorities asked people not to come within 3 miles of the fireworks market saying the scene remained dangerous. (21 Dec 2016)

<<CUT *029 (12/21/16)££ 00:17 "tend to victims"

APPHOTO XLAT112: This image made from video recorded from a passing car shows an explosion ripping through the San Pablito fireworks' market in Tultepec, Mexico, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. 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. According to the Mexico state prosecutor there are at least 26 dead. (Jose Luis Tolentino via AP) (21 Dec 2016)

<<APPHOTO XLAT112 (12/21/16)££

APPHOTO MXEM113: A fireman sprays water at the open-air San Pablito fireworks market, in Tultepec, outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. An explosion ripped through Mexico's best-known fireworks market where most of the fireworks stalls were completely leveled. According to the Mexico state prosecutor there are dozens dead. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) (20 Dec 2016)

<<APPHOTO MXEM113 (12/20/16)££

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