Gas Truck Blast Kills 19 in Mexico

MEXICO CITY -- A gas tanker truck exploded on a highway north of Mexico City early on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people and injuring 36 others as a fireball tore through cars and homes.

Pablo Bedolla, mayor of the Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec, said 19 people died in the blast that engulfed early morning traffic.

Television footage showed burned out vehicles and debris strewn all over the highway on the edge of the capital.

"It was a ball of fire which exploded as though they'd put a spotlight in the whole window," resident Carlos Gonzalez Silva, who was in a nearby house at the time of the blast, told Mexican radio. "We opened the door and it was like fire had blown through the whole of the garden."

Arturo Vilchis, head of emergency services in the State of Mexico, which abuts the capital, said 36 people were injured and that 13 of them had been hospitalized. Twenty homes and 16 vehicles were damaged by the explosion, he added.

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