[UPDATE] 12-19 10:39 PM --
A massive oil pipeline explosion has laid waste to parts of a central Mexican city, incinerating people, cars, houses and trees as gushing crude turned streets into flaming rivers.
Authorities now say at least 28 people were killed, 13 of them children, in a disaster they blame on oil thieves.
The blast in San Martin Texmelucan, initially estimated to have affected 5,000 residents in a three-mile radius, scorched homes and cars and left metal and pavement twisted and in some cases burned to ash in the intense heat.
Relatives sobbed as firefighters pulled charred bodies from the incinerated homes, some of the remains barely more than piles of ashes and bones.
Aside from the deaths, at least 52 people were hurt and 84 remain in a shelter after fleeing San Martin, which is about 55 miles east of Mexico City. More than 115 homes were scorched, 32 of them destroyed.
SAN MARTIN TEXMELUCAN, MEXICO -- At least 27 people are dead
after a pipeline exploded in central Mexico.
Authorities say 12 of the dead are children. They estimate the explosion and resulting spill has affected a three-mile radius, also injuring at least 52 people and scorching more than 115 homes.
The principal explosion, followed by four additional minor blasts, forced hundreds to flee the city of San Martin Texmelucan, 55 miles east of Mexico City.
The interior secretary for the state of Puebla says the explosion, which happened before dawn Sunday, was apparently provoked by thieves trying to steal crude oil.
Television images showed a scorched ghost town of houses, businesses and trees blackened by the huge explosion and a black crude-like substance covering the streets. The area is without electricity or water.