LUCIO BLANCO, Mexico (AP) – A tanker truck hauling liquid petroleum collided with a freight train, killing at least two people, injuring at least 44 and reducing parts of a border-town settlement to rubble.

Witnesses said they heard two large explosions followed by a series of smaller ones Thursday, with gusts of fire ripping through cement-wall homes and blasting off corrugated metal roofing.

“It was terrible. It was like an earthquake,” Jorge Batres said. “All is destroyed.”

The truck, owned by Techno Gas of Monterrey, Mexico, was hauling two tanks of propane when it failed to stop after the train sounded a warning, witnesses said.

One tank exploded and the other seeped gas through a puncture, fueling flames that took Mexican and Texas firefighters hours to extinguish.

There were no nearby water lines, and Texas crews ferried water in trucks from a hydrant by the nearby international bridge at Los Indios.

On Friday, authorities pulled the body of a 12-year-old boy from debris. A 17-year-old girl also died in the blast, but authorities said they did not know the fates of two other people – the driver and train engineer – who were originally reported killed in the blast.

It took several hours to find all the injured, who were taken to hospitals on both sides of the border.

The blasts gutted a six-block area, damaging at least a dozen structures in the settlement, which sits amid farm and ranch land outside Matamoros and comprises little more than a few shops selling crafts and snacks to travelers.

Blackened stoves and washtubs were left standing amid crumbling walls.

Alfonso Lucero, owner of two craft shops and a money exchange, surveyed what has been his businesses. The crafts he sold from around Mexico looked as though they had been smashed by a giant hammer. He wasn’t there when the blast occurred, but his three employees were in the hospital.

“It’s the fault of one person that had tremendous responsibility and didn’t carry it out,” he said.


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