Hundreds of shops, storage units and offices were destroyed on Sunday in a massive fire that engulfed two buildings in Mandawi in PD1 in Kabul early Sunday morning.
The blaze reportedly started in the Milad Supermarket at about 6.30am, in what is one of Kabul’s busiest trading areas, and resulted in millions of AFs worth of losses.
Firefighters allegedly arrived late and hours later the fire was still raging through the multi-story building, eventually spreading to a second building.
“Around 340 to 350 shops have been burned,” Mohammad Humayun Akhundzada, an official from the Federation of Afghanistan Craftsmen and Traders said.
Shopkeepers said the firefighters were not able to stop the fire from spreading to the second building and only brought the fire under control after 11am.
“The firefighters' water pipes had holes in them and they did not have enough water. The fire started at around 6:30 to 7am and now it is 11:20am,” Qari Mohammad Omar Rabbani, head of the Shopkeepers Union at Mandawi area said.
Shopkeepers said the fire had started out small but due to the inefficiency of firefighters it spread through the buildings unchecked.
“The firefighter trucks came one hour late, and they were empty. Only two of them had water and the rest were just parked here,” Naqibullah, a shopkeeper said.
Firefighters and security officials did not comment on the allegations.
Shopkeepers meanwhile complained that many shops had been looted but, a number of arrests have since been made.
This fire comes shortly after the devasting Khairkhwa Market fire in Nadir Pashtun Street in Kabul’s PD1 in November last year.
This fire destroyed about 1,000, mostly electrical appliance, shops and traders suffered millions of AFs in losses.