Dec 2, 2008 (DVB), A fire at a market in the Mon state capital Moulmein on Monday destroyed all the stalls in the complex, with damage totaling an estimated one hundred million kyat, according to locals.
One of the shop owners in Western Moulmein market said the fire broke out at around 2am on Monday.
"The fire started in the market's food court and it was quite small at first," the shop owner said.
"But the market security did not allow outsiders to come in and help and by the time they gave in, the fire was already too strong to put out," she said.
"Fire engines arrived on the scene about 45 minutes later but they had no water."
The shop owner said Moulmein municipal authorities had previously planned to demolish the old 12-section market place and build a new one on the site, but abandoned the plan after resistance from shops owners in the market.
Given their earlier plans, the shop owner said she was suspicious about the cause of the blaze.
"They wanted to get rid of the old market and the strange thing is, the fire spread so quickly across the market like it was soaked with some sort of fuel," she said.
"Also, the fire engines only arrived some time after the fire started."
Meanwhile, prices for shop spaces in Upper Moulmein Market in another part of the town have risen to six times their normal cost, the shop owner said.
"Before no one was willing to buy a shop space there, even for a fairly cheap price of around 20 million kyat," she said.
"But now, the prices have gone up overnight to about 120 million kyat for a shop stall."
Moulmein fire brigade was unavailable for comment.
Reporting by Phone Min Naing