A devastating fire broke out at north-central Vietnam's largest wholesale market in Nghe An Province on Monday night, reducing 122 shops to ashes. No casualties have been reported.
Witnesses said that the fire started from the area of fishing tackles and Chinese herbal medicine stores at the Vinh Market at around 8 p.m. before spreading to other shops.
More than 30 fire trucks and hundreds of firefighters and policemen were sent to the scene to extinguish the fire. As the stores were equipped with solid rolling aluminium doors, firefighters found it difficult to access the fire. They were able to douse the flames at 10:30 p.m.
At the time of the incident, all commercial activities had ceased, hence there was no casualty, local officials said.
Vinh Market, the biggest wholesale market in the north-central region, has an area of 33,000 square meters and hosts 1,500 shops.
In latest news about the fire, Nguyen Xuan Lam, police chief of Nghe An Province, said Wednesday that initial investigations showed the owner of a stall had forgotten to turn off an electric fan before going home. The fan had overheated and burnt, igniting the blaze.
However, final conclusions about the cause of the fire remain unclear as the Ministry of Public Security's Forensic Sciences Institute is still investigating.
The Nghe An's People's Committee has estimated the fire caused losses of nearly VND10 billion (US$486,000).