1 dead, 8 wounded as Kabul market gutted in fire
KABUL (Pajhwok): One person was killed and seven firefighters and a civilian were wounded on Thursday after a huge fire swept through a 12-storey shopping mall in central capital Kabul.
Ten floors of the building Abasin Zadran Market were gutted in the massive fire that broke out at 10am and was brought under control at 3pm.
Lt. Col. Abdul Rahman Rahimi, 101 Asmai Zone police commander, told reporters at the site, Mirwais Maidan, that initial reports suggested the fire resulted from an iron left on in a tailoring shop on the 12th floor at about 10am.
As of 3:00pm, he said firefighters were able to almost extinguish the blaze. He said the damage was not immediately known, but one person died after jumping from the shopping mall’s ninth floor and another shopkeeper was wounded.
Rahimi said seven firefighters also sustained burn wounds while trying to put out the fire. The injured were evacuated to hospital and their condition was said to be stable, he said. Clothes, jewellary and other items are sold at the market
Ten stories of the 12-storey mall were gutted as of 3:00pm and the flames had slowed down but smoke still appeared, he said. Currently, the firefighting team had reached the top floor and was spraying water at other areas, he added.
A garment shop owner on the 5th floor, Faisal Rahmani, told Pajhwok Afghan News there were garmets worth $50,000 in his shop. He said he and a few other shopkeepers were able to save a meager amount of their goods.
There were neither fire extinguisher canisters available in the mall nor emergency exit doors, he said, adding if necessary equipment and emergency doors existed, the fire wouldn’t have caused much a loss to people.
Abaseen Zadran Market owner Haji Abdul Rahim Zadran told Pajhwok the mall had nearly 1200 shops and stores. He said the fire apparently caused millions of dollars of losses to people.
Some witnesses said first a rumor circulated that a suicide bomber was inside the building and the fire broke out after police arrived and entered the building. But others said the rumor followed the fire eruption and people started fleeing the building.
As the smoke reached an adjoining mall Haji Kaptan Market and shop owners there also started taking out their goods of the mall.
Later it was also rumored that Haji Kaptan mall had also caught fire but the Kabul’s 101th Asmai Zone Police Commander said there was no fire in Haji Kaptan mall.
Earlier, Navid Ahmad, who owns a shop on the fifth floor and a store on the seventh floor, said his two brothers and one servant were missing.
He said the three were inside the building but now their cell phones did not work. He said it was possible they had gone to the store on the seventh floor and engulfed by the fire.
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