Kachin state fire razes 200 shops

A fire at a market in the Kachin state town of Laiza has destroyed around 200 shop stalls as owners slept through the blaze.

An electricity default triggered the fire at around 1am on Tuesday in the main market in Laiza, where the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has its headquarters.

“The blaze ended around 4am [on Tuesday] and the whole market is gone,” an eye-witness told DVB. “Security has been deployed.” He added that the fire “flattened the whole market”, while only one fire truck belonging to the KIO was dispatched.

“The market was prone to devastation by fire – it’s one storey and is built mainly with wood. We haven’t heard about any casualties yet.”

Kachin state is Burma’s northermost state, and shares a border with China. Thew eye-witness said that China had blocked its border checkpoint close to Laiza as the fire raged, and laid on extra security to man the crossing.

“Chinese authorities…worried there might be looting. They set up a blockade on the [border] bridge with about six or seven police officers standing side by side.”

The incident coincided with the 50-year anniversary of the KIO’s formation – a celebration was held at the parade ground in Laiza this morning.

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