Fires break out in Shan state, Bogalay and Palaw

Feb 27, 2008 (DVB), Thousands of people from across Burma have been left homeless after fires in Kengtung, Bogalay, Palaw, Rangoon and Mandalay over the past few days caused devastation.

Thirteen houses were destroyed in eastern Shan state's Kengung township after a mentally-ill man set fire to himself on Monday afternoon, locals said.

A police officer from Kengtung police station said the fire started in ward 3 of the township when Lon Sein Ninh committed suicide by covering himself in gasoline and setting himself on fire.

Local residents said the fire lasted for about an hour, destroying 13 houses, some motorbikes and rice-grinding machines and leaving about 70 people homeless.

Kengtung township’s ward 3 is mostly populated by poor ethnic Akha families.

The fire victims have been temporarily placed in an emergency shelter in nearby Tamawan monastery.

In Bogalay township's ward 4, a fire which broke out at 2.40am on Monday destroyed 11 houses and left 57 people homeless, government media reported.

A fire which began at 1.20pm on Sunday in Palaw destroyed 196 houses and left 1400 people homes.

Fire victims were given assistance at the East-Palaw and West monasteries.

These reports come after news of a fire in the Yadanabon market building in Mandalay on Monday, which raged all day and destroyed about 1400 shops and 130 offices, according to government newspaper Myanma Alin.

Four monks, six civilians and 11 firefighters were reportedly injured in the blaze.

Another small fire was reported at the same market building the following day which started from the remnants of Monday’s fire and lasted for about an hour, locals said.

Also on Monday, a fire in Hlaing Tharyar township destroyed 201 houses and left 2,900 people homeless, according to state media reports.

The government has issued warnings in the state media reminding people of the dangers of fires.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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