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Fire burns 40 shops in Tbilisi

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 21
An extensive fire broke out on Saturday morning and burnt down 40 shops at a construction and auto parts market in the Isani district of Tbilisi.

Around 21 engines and more than 100 firefighters were mobilized at the site to extinguish the fire, which burnt more than 1,200 square meters in total.

Nobody was injured in the incident. The police have launched an investigation into the case to discover the reason of the fire.

Governor of the Isani district, Vakhtang Kizikurashvili, arrived at the site. He said that the shops had not been insured.

“We will meet the fire-affected shopkeepers and act within our competence. Many things need to be regulated, including insurance,” he added.

Beka Makharadze, director general of Trans Service, a company that owns the Isani market, stated that all responsible people will be punished by law after the case is investigated.

He said the fire was not the first case and similar incidents occurred in 2015 as well. According to him, expert-criminalists are working at the site and will investigate the cause of the fire.

"I cannot say anything in advance. I cannot say this was sabotage or an accident - everything will be investigated," he said.

As for insurance, he added that all entrepreneurs were warned after the 2015 case that they had to insure their goods.

“They had to take care of their goods themselves and had them insured,” he added.

Some of the traders affected by the fire in Isani market claim responsibility lies with the management of the market area.

However, some shopkeepers believe that the fire initially broke out in a bakery and later it spread to the shops.

The majority of the victims say compensation should be paid by City Hall and the administration of the market.

This is the third large-scale fire at a Tbilisi marketplace this year. On January 30, a Didube trade center known as Children’s World and its adjacent shops were burnt due to an extensive fire which left around 1000 vendors affected. In early July, a fire destroyed part of the Eliava Market in the Didube district and burnt 15 shops in total.