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Fire Hits Eliava Market in Tbilisi

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, July 4
An extensive fire hit Eliava Market in the Didube district on Sunday evening, leaving around 2300 square meters burnt and destroying at least 15 shops of automobile parts, paints and tires.

The fire broke out in a three-story building in the middle of the market and extended quickly to other shops as well, due to inflammable materials kept in the stores.

Around 20 fire engines and 150 fire-fighters were mobilized at the scene trying to put out fire. But after the fire was nearly extinguished, new flames started to emerge. By night, the fire fighters managed to localize the fire and at present expert-criminalists are working at the scene to reveal the reason of fire.

Four people were affected by the fire and were taken to hospital. One of them is a fire-fighter. Doctors say their health condition is stable.

The Deputy Head of Emergency Situations Agency, Davit Gelashvili, stated that the safety norms were not observed at the Eliava market, which might have served as the main cause of fire.

The burnt area has been fenced off by the police, and nobody is allowed to enter. There are also fire-rescue service representatives and affected traders, who have doubts that the fire was set up deliberately.

Didube Governor Irma Zavradashvili arrived at the scene. She says that around 15 shops have been burnt down.

“An investigation is underway and until the process is completed, no one will be able to enter the area,” she added.

The Director of Eliava market first zone, Gocha Khetsuriani says the goods of the majority vendors were ensured and they will get compensations.

However, according to Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania, the majority of the vendors do not have insurance for their goods.

“First of all we need to know the exact cause of the fire. After this we will know whether the market administration will be held responsible or not,” Narmania stated.

He added that firefighters arrived at the scene very soon and did their best to save the market.

Lasha Abashidze, the city's Deputy Mayor, says that the cost of the saved goods and destroyed products will be calculated, after which the Mayor’s office will have a meeting with the affected vendors.

This is the second large-scale fire at Tbilisi markets this year. On January 30, a Didube trade center known as Children’s World and its adjacent shops and a market were burnt due to an extensive fire which left around 1000 vendors affected.