On Tuesday, more than 20 people were reportedly killed and dozens of others were injured in an explosion at a fireworks market near Mexico City. The initial blast sent off a chain reaction of countless fireworks explosions, which understandably created chaos in the open-air market and surrounding areas. As news of the incident spread around the world, videos of the Mexico City explosion showed what local residents and first responders were dealing with on the ground, and in the sky.
The explosion occurred at the San Pablito Market in Tultepec, Mexico, which sits to the north of Mexico City proper. The market has been struck by tragedy before, including devastating fires in both 2005 and 2006, but the market remains popular. According to The Washington Post, San Pablito is Mexico's best-known fireworks market. With the approaching holidays, the market may have been even more populated than usual on Tuesday.
It all started around 2:30 p.m. local time. Even in the broad daylight, videos captured the bright flashes and explosions that roared through the sky as the fireworks went off. As more residual explosions occurred, smoke began to envelop the market and the bright flashes of light. It made for a bright but tragic view above Mexico's largest city.
In addition to the firework lights, another unsettling part of the video footage from Tuesday's explosion may be the sounds. The crackle and pops of fireworks seemed to create an even more chaotic scene.
Still, the most heartbreaking scene was clearly on the ground. As one video posted to Twitter on Tuesday showed, people hurried away from the fireworks market amidst the loud pops, bright flashes, and billowing smoke. The scene sadly — and very visibly — turned from a bright day into a rampant rush to get away from the market.
As the smoke set in, onlookers — some of whom may have run away from the blast — appeared to watch dust and debris consume the area surrounding the market. Footage from the ground level clearly showed the destruction caused by the incident.
From above, the explosions appeared to have damaged much of the market. Structures appeared singed and the ground around the market was blackened. The large plumes of smoke were unmissable.
Several hours after the initial explosion, reports placed the total number of people killed or injured near 100. The governor of Mexico later confirmed that the death toll had reached at least 29.