Asuncion, Nov 3 (EFE).- Scores of voluntary firefighters were needed to gain control of a large blaze that erupted in the wee hours of Wednesday at the Paraguayan capital’s biggest and most popular open-air market and also affected other nearby stores.
The firefighters were successful in their efforts at Mercado 4, Efe observed, although they need to continue to cool the site to prevent the blaze from rekindling.
Local media said 200 volunteers from 10 companies were involved in battling the fire, which Mercado 4 director Christian Bareiro said was caused by a short circuit at around 2 am and affected both stalls inside the market and nearby commercial establishments.
In remarks to Paraguayan television station GEN, Bareiro said firefighters would have been able to better minimize the damage if the power company had cut the flow of electricity more quickly.
Fires at Mercado 4 are a recurrent problem that dates back decades, according to local daily ABC Color, which said neither the market’s authorities nor government officials have found a solution.
Although many sellers of souvenirs, electronics, fresh fruits and traditional Paraguayan dishes could be seen trying to salvage their merchandise, many are believed to have lost their entire supply of goods.
The fire triggered traffic interruptions and detours in the vicinity of the market, while the Education Ministry announced on social media that several area schools would not have in-person classes on Wednesday. EFE