Goods worth millions of dollars lost to blaze
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Friday’s fire at a multi-storey market in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, caused financial losses worth millions of dollars, shopkeepers said on Saturday, asking the government for compensation.
About 200 shops were gutted by the blaze at the market, north of the shrine on the Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi Road. The fire that erupted at 4pm took firefighters several hours to put it out.
Afghan and ISAF troops, as well as Ghazanfar Trade Company personnel, joined hands to prevent the blaze from engulfing a branch of Bakhtar Bank and the Samangan Market in the area, the Balkh deputy police chief said.
Col. Abdur Razzaq Qadiri told Pajhwok Afghan News the fire erupted in Shahzada Market’s basement, damaging five stories of the building. He said the losses were yet to be assessed.
One of the affected shopkeepers, Haji Ahmad, said a huge quantity of valuable goods had been reduced to ashes, resulting in heavy losses.
The market had electronics, carpet, furniture and jewellery shops, according to Ahmad, who said that 70 percent of his supplies had been destroyed. He worked out the value of his goods at $80,000.
If not compensated by the government, many shopkeepers would be unable to continue with their businesses, he believed.
Haji Ismail, a trader on the first floor of the market, claimed losing $90,000 carpets to the blaze. His shop had been gutted completely, he said, adding many shopkeepers needed assistance from the authorities.
Col. Qadiri said a delegation had been appointed to determine the extent of losses and the cause of the fire. The team has jerked into action.
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