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Fire in Daghestan market destroys 60 stalls

1 February 2018

A fire at a market in the Daghestani town of Kizilyurt has destroyed 60 stalls, leaving dozens of people without jobs and businesses. The fire broke out on the night of 31 January, and according to official statistics, engulfed an area covering 500 square metres. There were no injuries reported.

Stallholders who lost property in the fire are counting their losses. One stallholder who sold women’s clothing at the market, Khadizhat, claims to have lost property worth almost ₽4 million ($71,000).

‘I found out that the market was burning and came here that night. I thought I might have time to save something, but the firefighters would not let me through. They said everything is already burning, and that it was dangerous to go there’, Khadizhat told OC Media.

The total damages may have amounted to tens of millions of roubles. According to traders, the market’s administration has already announced they will restore the outlets, and in the meantime, the market will be on the territory not affected by the fire.

A source in Daghestani law enforcement told OC Media that the fire safety rules had been broken at the market.

‘Experts are looking into several possible scenarios, including ignition of faulty wiring or an unplugged electrical appliance. The director of the market was repeatedly ordered to eliminate violations of fire safety rules. Now he says he has replaced the wiring in the market. Perhaps this was not enough’, the source said.

In March last year, a large fire hit the Dagelektromash clothing market in Makhachkala. According to official data, 400 stalls were burned down over an area of 1,000 square metres. But stallholders have disputed these figures, claiming 1,460 stalls were destroyed over 17,900 square metres.

An official investigation concluded that faulty wiring was to blame for the fire. But several employees at the market have insisted it was intentionally set on fire, claiming the area near the centre of the city had caught the eye of an official.

[Read also: «Authorities meet with fire hit market-traders after Makhachkala protest»]

Traders at the market have been trying to get compensation from the government for almost a year, and repairs are still ongoing. Around 100 former traders are still unemployed.