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Mexico: Fatal explosion at candy factory in Ciudad Juarez

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MEXICO CITY -- An explosion at a candy factory Thursday on Mexico’s border with Texas did major damage to the building, killed at least one worker and injured dozens more, authorities said.

The blast in an industrial park of maquiladoras in the border city of Ciudad Juarez collapsed a roof and wall of the factory and ignited fires. About 30 people were injured, and initial reports said 40 or more people were trapped or missing.

However, the state’s civil protection director, Fernando Mota, told reporters that no one was trapped, but that about eight people were in critical condition. He also reported one fatality, although it was unclear whether the death toll might rise.

He said the “Blueberry” factory had no known history of industrial problems. These factories “are usually very careful about sending out a message of taking care of their employees,” he told Milenio Television.

There were conflicting reports on the cause of the blast. Some reports blamed a boiler explosion. Others recounted a collection of fumes, possibly from the processing of the candy.

Ciudad Juarez is known for some of the worst bloodshed in recent years of drug gang warfare and government retaliation. Homicides have declined in recent months, but even at the height of the violence, the area’s hundreds of maquiladoras, or factories, managed to flourish, producing tons of clothing, food products, electronics parts and other merchandise for U.S. markets.

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