370 shops, godowns gutted in Kabul market fire
KABUL (Pajhwok): Saturday’s huge blaze that swept into a marketplace in central capital Kabul reduced to ashes 370 shops and godowns, causing millions of dollars of losses to traders, officials and traders said on Sunday.
Maj. Gen. Abdur Rahman Rahimi, the Asmayee Zone police commander, told reporters on Saturday the fire erupted as a result of an electric short-circuit in Haji Zardad market at about 10:30am.
The fire was controlled after five hours of hectic efforts and three people were injured in the blaze. The bulk of losses were incurred by shop owners selling shoes and sandals at Zardad market.
A shopkeeper in the market, Syal Mohammad, told Pajhwok Afghan News said a total 93 shops and 240 godowns were gutted in the inferno, with each trader suffering more than $100,000 of losses.
Another shopkeeper, Allah Mohammad Mirzai, said his two shops and seven godowns were reduced to ashes in the fire, causing him more than 24 million afs losses. He asked the government to help him revive his business.
The fire also spread to adjacent Habibullah Market where goods in 26 shops were burnt. A shopkeeper in the market, Ghulam Sakhi Bayat, said the 26 shops housed sports and tailoring materials which had been destroyed.
A mosque in the market was also torched, he said, estimating the total losses suffered by traders in the market at five million dollars.
Likewise, owner of the market, Syed Jamshed, said addition to goods in shops, the building had also damaged which would need nearly $200,000 to be reconstructed.
Fourteen shops and a mosque in yet another nearby market were also burnt in the fire, causing the building damage amounting to $30,000, with traders claiming to have suffered nearly $50,000 losses in total, the clerk of the market, Wahidullah said.
An assessment team from the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) has been appointed to determine the exact loss, ACCI head Khan Jan Alokozai said, asking the government to exempt affected traders from taxes until they returned to their earlier situation.
He said since insurance system for shops was not available in Afghanistan, the shops gutted had not been guaranteed compensation by insurance scheme.
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