CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico —Investigators are combing through piles of rubble to find the cause of a deadly explosion at a candy factory in Ciudad Juarez.
The death toll from the blast has now risen to three people. The explosion Thursday injured 50 workers.
“Since yesterday at five in the morning when he left for work I haven’t seen him. I haven’t heard anything,” said Rosario de la Torre Mesa whose son worked at the plant.
During his shift a fiery explosion rocked the building and the second floor of the factory collapsed.
His mother identified his remains after standing vigil outside the factory for two days.
Miguel Angel de la Torre Mesa was 20 years old. He leaves behind a wife and two young children ages 1 and 2 years old.
His mother and other relatives began searching for him in area hospitals after the explosion.
“I thought it was the end of the world,” said Josefina Salas who lives near the candy factory. She says the blast broke one of her windows and kicked up a huge cloud of dust into the air.
Salas’ nephew who works at the plant was able to escape without injuries.
Witnesses said there were not enough ambulances to take everyone to the hospital. Half a dozen workers remain in critical condition and may be transferred to burn units in Guadalajara, Monterrey or possibly the U.S.
About 300 people work at the Blueberry factory in Juarez which makes hard candy for Sunrise Confections, an El Paso-based subsidiary of Mount Franklin Foods.
Neither the U.S. company nor Mexican factory has issued a public statement about the explosion or investigation.
“The only thing they do is lock themselves up,” said de la Torre. “They don’t say anything.”
Chihuahua state investigators are now handling the case.
“I can’t say for sure. But for now that’s all,” said Adrian Lopez, an Engineer with the Civil Protection Brigade who said authorities had not discovered any more bodies.
One body was pulled from the rubble during rescue efforts. A 19-year-old worker died at the hospital.
Lopez examined the building after the explosion and said he does not suspect a natural gas e. explosion.
As the investigation begins questions are growing about the cause, safety at the plant and the emergency response in a border city that is home to hundreds of maquiladoras, or factories that manufacture products for U.S. and other foreign companies.