Fire ravages 123 shops at Pandangpanjang market

Padangpanjang, W Sumatra (ANTARA News) - A fire ravaged a traditional market in Padangpanjang city, West Sumatra province, before dawn on Sunday, destroying at least 123 shops with material losses estimated at Rp2.19 billion.

"The fire was known only this morning after it had been raging many shops," Rio, trader at the market, said on Sunday.

No fatalities or injuries were reported in the blaze.

The fire which broke out at around 04.30 a.m. could be put out at around 06.00 a.m. on Sunday after 10 fire trucks had been sent there.

"Five of the fire trucks came from the Padangpanjang city administration and the rest from neighboring regions such as Pariaman, Solok, Bukittinggi, Agam and Tanahdatar," he said.

Fire fighters had a little bit of difficulty to extinguish the fire because it originated from the middle of the market. In addition, a crowd of traders that tried to save their merchandise hampered the effort to put out the fire.

"I received a report about the fire from my trademate only at 05.00 a.m. When I arrived here the fire had razed a few food stalls so it was impossible for me to save my merchandise. I could save nothing so I suffer at least Rp40 million in losses," Roni said.

Both the city administration and police were not available for comment on the cause of the fire.

"We still cannot establish the exact cause of the fire which ravaged hundreds of shops," Pandangpanjang Mayor Edwin said. (*)