300 homes destroyed in Mandalay blaze

Feb 11, 2009 (DVB), More than 300 homes were destroyed and more than 1600 people left homeless when a fire broke out in Chanmyatharzi township, Mandalay division, on the afternoon of 9 February.

The fire started at around 3.15pm at Soe Yazar petrol pump in Myayi Nandar ward, when a motorcyclist discarded a smouldering cigarette after filling his tank with petrol, a local resident said.

"The fire died down at about 4.15pm. Fire engines came and cars from the Chanmya Thukkha social group came to pick up wounded people," he said.

"There were 323 families affected. They opened some rescue camps near Buddhist monasteries."

Government fire engines came to extinguish the fire.

The authorities have stated that no lives were lost in the fire, though there have been reports that some people were killed or injured in the blaze or the ensuing panic.

"I heard that some children died but I don’t know the details as there has been no official statement, they just said there were no deaths," the resident said.

"There must have been some injuries for sure but I don’t have any figures. As usual, some people were running amok and could have been knocked down by the fire engines," he said.

"One woman picked up her mother and child and took her mother to a safe place, leaving her child behind, and when she came back the whole house had burnt down."

Mandalay central fire brigade declined to comment.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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