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Makhachkala market ablaze for third time in a year

2 November 2017

A market in Makhachkala has caught fire for the third time this year. While many traders are certain the fire was set deliberately, officials have denied this.

The fire in the Dagelektromash market broke out in the early hours of 1 November. When traders came to work on 1 November they discovered that eight pavilions had burnt down.  The Ministry of Emergency Situations’ Daghestan office told OC Media the fire covered 150 square metres. No injuries were reported.

One of the managers at the market, entrepreneur Khadizhat Akhmedova, told OC Media she believes the fire was set intentionally.

‘They decided to build a shopping centre on the site of the burned down market. And they need a road which would lead to it. We were driven out from this area, now other businessmen are also being driven out. I do not know how else to understand this’.

She says the building traders were offered in exchange for the burnt stalls will not be finished for another three years.

‘We started to show that we are unhappy. We are deep in debt. What will we do for three years? And then the new place will still need to be promoted’, Akhmedova said.

In an interview with OC Media, Makhachkala city administration deputy Magomed Magomedov rejected that arson was the cause of the fire. He said the fire department has determined the cause to be negligence.

‘A woman selling tea, an elderly woman, works in the market. She left a device on in one of the containers. Because of this, there was a fire. Firemen have a video from two outdoor surveillance cameras. There was absolutely no arson,’ he said.

He added that they were ‘already tired’ of rumours of arson and that ‘you can contact the directorate of the market’, who have the records from two surveillance cameras.

An unhappy year

This was the third fire on the Dagelektromash market this year. On 6 March, a clothes stall was completely destroyed, and the three stalls next to it were partially burnt.

The fire on 31 March was larger, affecting approximately 800–1,000 square meters. According to traders, 1,460 stalls were burnt causing damage amounting to between ₽4–₽10 million ($69,000–$170,000) to individual entrepreneurs.

Many of the traders demanded compensation, and on 17 October, a group of them met with the mayor of Makhachkala, Musa Musayev, when he came to check on the repair works being done. After the meeting, he wrote on his Instagram page that the city administration did not intend to compensate the victims.

Magomedov told OC Media on 1 November that the directorate offered to arrange space for victims in an unfinished building on Gamidova Avenue, in the centre of Makhachkala, but ‘they all as one said they want the market to be rebuilt at the same spot’.

According to him, the mayor’s office will try to help issue new documents where they were lost in the fire ‘at least within a month’, so that reconstruction work can begin.

The third fire occurred just a day after a meeting on 31 October between the city administration, the directorate and owners of the market, and traders who lost property in the fire.