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Myanmar market blaze leaves 21 hurt

At least 21 people were injured in a fire that ripped through the main retail district in Mandalay, destroying 1,500 businesses.

world Updated: Feb 26, 2008 13:25 IST

At least 21 people were injured in a fire that ripped through the main retail district in Myanmar's second city Mandalay, destroying or damaging 1,500 businesses, state media said on Tuesday.

The blaze erupted on Monday morning, sparked by an electrical short-circuit in a shop in Yadanabon market, the official 'New Light of Myanmar' newspaper said.

"Altogether 21 people, four monks, 11 firemen, three men and three women, were injured in the fire," the paper said.

The fire damaged more than 1,400 shops and dozens of offices, including a 59-room computer training centre operated by the state-run Myanmar Information and Communication Technology, the paper added.

The paper said the main blaze was extinguished after six hours, but firefighters today were still combing through the debris and putting out small fires in the wreckage, according to witnesses.

"The firemen and authorities are still trying to put out the fire completely. They blocked all the entrances to the market and are not allowing anyone to go inside because it's still dangerous. We can still see the smoke coming out," one Mandalay resident told AFP by telephone.

Hospitals declined to give details on the casualties.

The paper also reported that 2,900 people were left homeless in Myanmar's main city Yangon after a fire destroyed 200 homes in the outlying Hlaingthayar township.

The fire department urged caution when filling electricity generators with petrol or diesel, especially around lighted candles.

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