A powerful blast rocked a US-owned candy factory in northern Mexico on Thursday, killing one person and injuring more than 40 as rescuers searched for any other victims, officials said.
Some 900 people were working at the Blueberry factory 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 the street.
A city government spokesman initially said a boiler had exploded, but civil protection chief Fernando Motta Allen told AFP 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 some 20 people were missing but Motta Allen refused to give a figure, adding that rescuers were combing the building for any other victims.
Eleven of those injured 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, not the ceiling as previously reported by city officials.
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.
Some 30 ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion to take the injured to hospitals. Soldiers wearing dust masks and toting assault rifles were deployed to the site.
Ciudad Juarez, which lies across the border from the US city of El Paso, has been a manufacturing hub for years, though it has become more famous for drug cartel violence recently.
Officials said the sweets manufactured by Blueberry are produced for the export market.