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Massive Fire Destroys Electronics Market In Kabul But Causes No Casualties


The scene of a fire at an electronic appliances market in Kabul

Kabul residents on November 2 cleaned up after a massive fire destroyed hundreds of stores overnight at a big electronics market in the center of the city.

Despite incinerating entire businesses and leaving a scene of disaster, no casualties were reported from the fire, The damage to property, though, was in the millions of dollars.

Firefighters were still struggling to put out flames more than 13 hours after the blaze started at the city's largest market for electronic goods and home appliances.

Authorities were still investigating the cause of the blaze, but said it appeared to have started as an electrical fire shortly after stores closed for the day on November 1.

The blaze burned through shop after shop before firefighters were able to contain it.

They struggled with an erratic supply of water, drawn from water lines with very little pressure, forcing them to bring in convoys of water trucks.

Hundreds of store owners scrambled to save what they could, some carrying large television sets on their backs. Others stacked what goods they could find intact onto wheelbarrows.

Dozens of the store owners gathered at the scene on November 2 said they would demand compensation from the government.

Mujibul Rahman told AP that he borrowed tens of thousands of dollars to open his electronics store. The fire consumed $200,000 in inventory.

"Now what can I do?" he asked.

Hejratullah Khan, whose Dunya Mobile phone stores are a fixture in Kabul, told AP the fire had destroyed all his store's merchandise.

"We were the largest mobile-phone shop," he said as he rummaged through phones melted into blobs of black metal.

Khan told AP his life savings and those of his two brothers -- totaling $500,000 -- were consumed by the fire.

Based on reporting by AP and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan
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