At least 19 people were killed in a series of explosions Thursday at fireworks warehouses in the town of Tultepec in central Mexico, including rescue workers who died saving others’ lives, officials said. The initial explosion occurred around 9:30 am (1430 GMT), then spread to other warehouses just as police and firefighters began attending to the first victims in the town, which is known for its artisanal fireworks — and a history of deadly accidents. “We deeply regret the deaths of those who were killed this morning in… Tultepec, including our firefighter and police colleagues who lost their lives saving those of many others,” read a tweet from the Red Cross in the state of Mexico, where Tultepec is located. READ ALSO: APC governors keep mum after meeting with Buhari At least 19 people were killed — including a minor — and 40 wounded, said state Interior Minister Alejandro Ozuna. Hundreds of soldiers, police and firefighters deployed to the neighborhood of Xahuento, on the outskirts of the town, cordoning off a wide area around the smoldering workshops where the explosions ocurred. “I was having breakfast when there was a terrible blast. We left the house running and I saw a huge white cloud in the sky, as if it were going to rain — except today it rained fire,” said Alondra Perez, 62, who lives across the road. An anguished teenager was asking rescue workers for information about his father, a fireworks maker who worked in the area. “The last time I saw him was this morning. I left school to look for him as soon as we heard about the explosion. But they won’t let me through and nobody is giving me any information,” said Allan Osvaldo, 14. Rescue workers confirmed that some of their own had been caught in the explosions, though it was not immediately clear how many. A police officer told AFP an ambulance had been completely charred in one of the blasts. “People here insist on continuing to make fireworks. It’s their tradition. But they don’t gage the consequences of these tragedies. It’s infuriating, because our firefighter colleagues… end up dead saving these people,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sent his condolences to the victims’ families on Twitter and said the army and interior ministry were supporting the state rescue effort.