Market ablaze in Bishkek, two injured
BISHKEK. Jan 30 (Interfax) - A fire is raging Osh Bazaar, a major food market in the center of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
The fire started at a food stand adjacent to the market and then spread to other stands, the press center of the Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax on Tuesday.
An area of 3,500 square meters is ablaze, the press service said. The fire has already been contained, and 12 firefighting teams are working to extinguish it, the press service said.
Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Minister Kubatbek Boronov, the ministry's rapid response group, and a brigade of rescuers from the ministry's rescue service for Bishkek are also working at the scene.
"Preliminary information indicates that the fire may have been caused by a short circuit. Because of heavy frosts, people in the pavilions tried to get warm using electric heating, which could have led to a short circuit," the press service said.
"An inspection will determine the exact cause," it said.
According to preliminary reports, there have been no fatalities, but the work of firefighters is complicated by the fact that the fire erupted at a site surrounded by a large number of market stands built from flammable materials and selling various commodities, including household detergents, which allowed the fire to spread quickly, the press service said. It is also difficult to access the site because it is in a densely built-up part of the market.
Market vendors who are trying to save their merchandise are also hampering the firefighters' work.
Bishkek ambulance center spokesman Yegor Borisov told Interfax that two people had sought medical aid and were diagnosed with "mild carbon monoxide poisoning."
"No one else was killed or injured. Ambulance crews remain on duty at the site," he said.
According to the Emergency Situations Ministry, 13 fires have occurred in Bishkek over the past 24 hours. Some of them were caused by the improper handling of electrical equipment.
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