Mexico confectionery factory blast kills 1, injures 40

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 October, 2013, 9:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 October, 2013, 9:08pm


A powerful blast rocked a US-owned confectionery factory in northern Mexico, killing at least one person and injuring more than 40, officials said. Rescuers were searching for any other victims.

In all, 900 people were working at the Blueberry factory on Thursday when the explosion ripped through the furnace section in the early afternoon in Ciudad Juarez, a city bordering Texas, officials said.

Smoke billowed from the building, located in an industrial park, while a side wall collapsed and blocks of broken cement were strewn across a nearby roadway.

A city spokesman initially said a boiler had exploded, but civil protection chief Fernando Motta Allen said later that the cause and source of the blast were under investigation.

"There is one dead person whom we just pulled from the building," he said.

City officials earlier said 20 people were missing but Motta Allen refused to give a figure, adding that rescuers were hunting for other victims.

Of the injured, 11 were in serious condition, including two who were badly burned and two others with broken bones.

Motta Allen said interior and exterior walls had collapsed.

Worried relatives of workers stood behind a security cordon, some hugging each other, others holding their hands to their eyes as they waited for news.

As 30 ambulances rushed the injured to hospitals, soldiers wearing dust masks and carrying assault rifles were seen at the site.

Ciudad Juarez, close to the US city of El Paso, has been a manufacturing hub for years, although it has become more famous for drug cartel violence recently.

Officials said the sweets manufactured by Blueberry were produced for the export market.