23 dead in Mexico tanker blast
May 8, 2013 -- Updated 0253 GMT (1053 HKT)
Burned cars are pictured in a highway in Ecatepec near Mexico city, on May 7, 2013.
- NEW: The death toll after a fiery tanker crash rises to 23
- Witness: "There was a flash, then a noise, and the ground began to shake"
- The driver is in the hospital but under arrest
- A tanker transporting gas crashed and exploded, police say
Read this story in Spanish
(CNN) -- A speeding tanker truck carrying gas crashed and exploded in a huge fireball along a highway near Mexico City Tuesday, killing at least 23 people and injuring dozens more, officials said.
"There was a flash, then a noise, and the ground began to shake," said Dulce Gonzalez, who lives in the neighborhood where the tanker plowed into homes early Tuesday morning.
Flames engulfed cars and houses near the explosion, video from CNN affiliate Foro TV showed.
As crews searched for survivors, residents combed through the burned out shells that remained where their homes once stood. Some rescuers removed livestock and pets from the charred ruins.
The federal highway division of the office of Mexico's transportation secretary said in a statement Tuesday night that 23 people had been killed.
Salvador Neme, the secretary for citizen security in Mexico state, said two of the victims were children.
According to initial reports from police, the tanker was speeding and the driver lost control, crashing into several homes and cars before exploding, Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency reported.
Federal highway officials said 26 people were injured after the explosion. Half of them were in serious condition.
The driver of the tanker was also in the hospital but under arrest, Neme said.
The blast occurred in the municipality of Ecatepec, in the state of Mexico.
At least 45 homes were damaged and 16 vehicles burned in the city, a large suburb near the nation's capital, Ecatepec Mayor Pablo Bedolla said.
Authorities opened a shelter in the area for 100 people left homeless after the fiery blast.
CNNMexico.com's Mauricio Torres and CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
In a raid on a luxury apartment complex, agents caught up with a French-Algerian man they accuse of bringing back terror to Europe.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT)
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about trying to get a hostage home alive.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
Artist Hendrik Gericke puts a spotlight on iconic performers from South Africa in these incredible monochrome illustrations.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories