A fire broke out in the southern city of Daegu early Wednesday, gutting over 800 stores in the city’s biggest street market. No casualties were reported.
According to local authorities, the blaze started at around 2 a.m. in a section of Seomun Market where 839 stores -- mostly selling clothes -- are located.
The stores suffered severe damage, but the estimated financial damage is not yet known.
Two firefighters were injured and two people were rescued from the blaze. No major injuries were reported.
Firefighters extinguish a blaze in Seomun Market in Daegu early Wednesday. Some 800 stores were completely gutted, but no casualities were reported (Yonhap)
One firefighter was hit by a banister that fell from the building, while the other injured his hand while fighting the blaze. Both were transferred to a nearby hospital.
A co-operative of shopkeepers in the market has insurance that covers damages of up to 7.6 billion won ($6.5 million), but is limited to construction losses. Those who did not apply for insurance will have to bear the cost of the damage themselves.
Security Minister Park In-yong said he would consider designating the incident scene as a special disaster area to provide aid to victims.
The biggest traditional market in the city, Seomun Market is divided into six buildings, with 4,622 stores inside the market.
In December 2005, another big blaze ripped through the market, affecting about 1,000 merchants and leaving property damage of 60 billion won.
“The size of the damage from this incident is bigger than the one in 2005. We may have to tear down the remains and rebuild the structures,” said an official from the Daegu Fire Safety Department.
Section No. 4 was constituted of stores mainly dealing with fabric and materials, including blankets, curtains and hanbok, the nation’s traditional dress.
The market’s night guard first reported the fire. The exact cause is currently under investigation.
Daegu Fire Safety Department deployed 750 personnel members, along with 97 fire trucks and water tank equipment to suppress the fire. Two helicopters also brought water from nearby Suseong Lake to help extinguish the flames.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)