Fire engulfs landmark Rangoon market

One of Burma’s largest wholesale markets, located in downtown Rangoon, has been destroyed by fire.

An eye-witness at the Mingalar market in Rangoon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt township told DVB this afternoon that the fire began on the fourth floor of the multi-storey market building at around 8.20am today. At 4pm Burmese time (10.30am GMT) it was still on fire.

“There are about four to five people on the roof above the fifth floor waving cloths. I don’t know whether they were trapped there or just staying there,” he said.

“Firemen are only dousing water from the outside because they couldn’t really go in…so this is not likely to stop until everything is burned down,” he added. “Apparently the fire is not spreading to other floors as there are firemen [on those floors.]”

Nearby residents have reportedly evacuated their buildings following fears that the fire would spread. The fourth floor is home to a number of cosmetics and drug stores, out of a total of around 4,000 shops and stalls in the market. Burmese from across the country flock there to trade and buy goods.

No casualties have yet been reported. A security official told AFP that one fireman man was injured while putting out the fire.

The cause of the fire is unknown, although there are rumours of an electricity fault on the market.

A similar incident occurred in December 2008 when a fire gutted a market in Moulmein, Mon state. And in February that year, another fire destroyed a shopping mall, information technology park and private businesses in Yadanabon in Mandalay division.

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