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Arson declared cause of Almaty flea market fire

26 november 2013, 12:54
0
©Roza Yesenkulova
©Roza Yesenkulova
Kazakhstan Ministry of Emergency Situations has unveiled its findings and declared the cause of the recent fire at Almaty flea market. Arson was the cause of the fire at Kulager section and spread into the other market sections from there, Tengrinews reports citing, Vladimir Bekker Deputy Chairman of the Fire Fighting Service Committee of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Emergency Situations.

"All the facts show signs of a premeditated arson," he said at the briefing in Astana.

"Tests made by the fire testing lab have revealed that there several independent sources of fire at Kulager section of the market. The analysis of ash residues showed clear traces of easily ignitable and flammable liquids in the locations of the fire islands. The investigation concluded from the condition of the power networks that electrical devises were not among the sources of the fire," he pointed out.

The security personnel of the market was interviewed by the police and unanimously declared that there were no trespassers at the territory of the market when the fire started. The previous statement of the Emergency Minister -- on November 23 he said that it took the security of the flea market about an hour to finally call the firefighters -- was confirmed during the investigation. The alleged cause of the security personnel's failure to call the emergency at first signs of the fire are self-reliance and confidence of being able to extinguish the fire on their own.

Bekker also pointed out, that security personnel of Aral flea market section were the first to see the fire at 4:45 a.m.. "They warned the security of Kulager and started trying to prevent the fire from spreading onto Aral section using the firefighting water supply, but did not call 101 to alert the firefighting service. The security personnel of Kulager section didn't report the emergency immediately either and tried to extinguish the fire on their own," he said.

According to Mr. Bekker, the tests clearly show that there was a premeditated arson with an intent to destroy or damage people's property. The amount of damage hasn’t been evaluated yet. "All the fire victims are being interviewed," Bekker said.

Earlier, the Ministry of Emergency Situations was also considering the versions of violation of rules of installation or exploitation of electric equipment and violation of fire safety rules during welding or other hot works as the possible causes of the fire.

A criminal case over the Premeditated Destruction or Damaging of People's Property by Means of an Arson was initiated in relation to the fire at the Almaty flea market. It has been transferred to the Prosecutor's Office for further processing.

Zhana Kulager, Aral and Eurasia sections of the Almaty flea market were on fire on November 17. The fire started during the night, presumably at 3 a.m., but was stopped from spreading only hours later at 11:08 a.m. The total area of the fire made 3800 square meters. There were no casualties.


By Assel Satayeva

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