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December 26, 2011

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Blaze races through electronics market

A FIRE broke out in a secondhand IT product market yesterday afternoon in Zhabei District, bringing more than 20 fire engines, several police cars and two large fire ladder trucks to the scene. No injuries were reported, officers said.

The blaze started around 4:15pm in Qiufu Electronics and Appliances Market on Qiujiang Road. Fierce flames were spotted coming from a warehouse on the third floor of the market, with acrid black smoke rising 100 meters into the air.

Witnesses said the flames quickly engulfed the market's lower story and were heading toward residential complexes close to the market when firefighters halted them.

No one was injured but the fire swept over 400 square meters, causing severe damage to the market.

Vendors with stalls there saw their electronic goods destroyed. The fire was extinguished by 5pm.

Police said they have launched an inspection on every floor of the market but the cause of the blaze was still under investigation.

Established in 2000, the Qiufu Market was one of the earliest and biggest secondhand IT product market in Shanghai. It has 300 stalls and is well-known for bargain-priced electronics products.

Nearby residents had complained the market was too old and disorderly, as small-scale vendors piled up inflammable products, including electronics and home appliances, that could easily catch fire.

A further hazard was posed by the narrow streets, which made it difficult for fire engines to reach the scene.

Although the city's fire department had reminded markets and local residents to be aware of fire hazards during current cold, dry weather, two other blazes were reported in the city yesterday morning.

The first fire occurred at 8:45am in an apartment on Jiang'an Road in Xuhui District, after an electric blanket caught on fire and the flames ignited clothes, shoes and plastic items.

The second blaze was reported in Songjiang District at 11:40am, after a five-year-old boy had been playing with a lighter in his room. A fire broke out, damaging his home.

No one was injured in either fire, police said.

As part of a nationwide crackdown on fire hazards, Shanghai police inspected several plazas on Christmas Eve.

And similar inspections will be carried out at bars, cyber cafes, hotels and department stores from 8pm on December 31 to 1am on New Year's Day, said officials.


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