Mexico explosion: At least 29 killed in fireworks blast

(CNN)Explosions ripped through a fireworks market north of Mexico City on Tuesday, killing at least 29 people.

There were reports from people in neighboring towns that they could feel the ground tremble beneath their feet as fireworks stalls exploded in Tultepec, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mexico City, sending huge plumes of smoke billowing up into the sky.

Seventy-two people were injured, said Eruviel Avila, governor of the State of Mexico. Three minors are expected to be transferred to a hospital in Galveston, Texas, for treatment of extreme burns.The town is well known for its pyrotechnics industry and the huge San Pablito market is popular for firework sales. The market would have been especially crowded heading into the holidays as locals shopped for fireworks to mark Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known, but Tultepec is considered to be one of the safest markets in the region.Video captured flashes of fire and what appeared to be fireworks exploding as people ran for their lives, a witness told CNN. The death toll climbed throughout the evening.

Jose Luis Tolentino said he was in traffic when he heard loud noises. Some of the people who tried to get away tripped in the frantic dash, he said. He added that the fireworks market is the size of a soccer stadium.

The area is highly densely populated, and witnesses from surrounding neighborhoods captured the huge volumes of smoke billowing into the sky.

Emergency responders were at the charred scene and assessing the damage Tuesday, Luis Felipe Puente, coordinator of Mexico's national civil protection agency, told CNN affiliate FOROtv.

There was very little the firefighters could do at the scene. Due to the sheer number of stalls, emergency crews had no choice but to let the unexploded fireworks go off.

A video from Red Cross Mexico showed panic as people ran from the devastation.

These types of accidents are frequent in Mexico -- even more so at the end of the year and during religious festivals, according to a report by Mexico's National Pedagogic University.

In 2005, a large explosion that injured many people and caused enormous damage took place at the same fireworks market.

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