Popular shops destroyed in Muharraq suq blaze
Manama, June 3, 2014
Fire ripped through one of the biggest suqs in Bahrain yesterday (June 2), destroying four popular shops and causing long tailbacks for nearly two hours.
Sixty-five Civil Defence personnel, 18 fire engines and three water tankers were dispatched to the old Muharraq suq, where firemen fought the blaze for around three hours, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It happened at around 1.20pm in one of the shops and quickly spread due to the presence of flammable materials.
Sources at the scene said the fire could have been caused by a short circuit, but the Interior Ministry did not confirm as an investigation has been launched.
"Civil defence forces were deployed within four minutes of the fire that started at 1.23pm," said a ministry statement.
"No injuries were reported in the fire that spread very fast, while investigation was launched to know the reason.
"The Public Prosecution has been notified."
Public Security chief Major-General Tariq Al Hassan visited the scene to oversee the operation.
The damaged shops were Jassim Mohammed Showaiter sweets, Zuhoor Al Muharraq sweets, Morooj Al Muharraq sweets and Hussain Mohammed Showaiter sweets.
Thick plumes of black smoke covered the sky, causing panic among motorists and shoppers who gathered near the entrance of the suq, which restricted access for firemen and police, added the sources.
Eyewitnesses said massive tailbacks were caused as motorists were stuck in traffic for nearly two hours.
"I could see thick black smoke coming out of the shops," said a 30-year-old motorist.
"We were stuck in traffic for almost two hours.
"I saw lots of policemen, firemen and big water tankers along with several fire engines.
"We had no other option but to wait for authorities to clear the road to reach our destinations."
Meanwhile, area councillor Ghazi Al Murbati blamed the Culture Ministry for ignoring known faulty wiring in several buildings in the area, which were registered under its jurisdiction.
"The ministry has been disregarding people's safety for several years by not taking precautions to ensure the security of historical and heritage sites that come under its responsibility," he said.
"The Electricity and Water Authority has inspected the suq several times and revealed that electrical wirings were dangerous and don't follow standards as they pass between textile, wood and flammable materials.
"I also blame the Interior Ministry for not putting pressure on the Culture Ministry to take action, despite reports that the place is dangerous." - TradeArabia News Service