Blaze rav­ages world’s largest fish mar­ket

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

TOKYO — Ja­panese po­lice and fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors sifted through the charred wreck­age of parts of the world’s largest fish mar­ket, a day af­ter flames tore through seven build­ings at the Tokyo tourist site.

The 80-year-old Tsuk­iji mar­ket draws tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors a year to its net­work of stalls laden with ex­otic species of fish and fresh sushi.

No peo­ple were in­jured in the fire that broke out on Thurs­day and sent gray smoke bil­low­ing over the city, but 935 square meters of shops and res­tau­rants in seven build­ings were de­stroyed, a Tokyo Fire Depart­ment spokesman said.

“At this point we can’t say any­thing about the cause, it’s fire trucks still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he added. “There’s no in­for­ma­tion in­di­cat­ing ar­son, but again, it’s still too early to say.”

Me­dia re­ports said the fire ap­peared to orig­i­nate in a three-story build­ing and that peo­ple in the area had re­ported smelling smoke be­fore the fire’s start in Tsuk­iji’s outer mar­ket — an area packed with in­for­mal res­tau­rants where tourists can dine on fresh seafood and sushi.

Most es­tab­lish­ments in the area, which bus­tles with cus­tomers dur­ing the morn­ing and early af­ter­noon, had al­ready closed for the day when the fire be­gan.

The Tsuk­iji in­ner mar­ket, where most seafood whole­sales are lo­cated and world fa­mous tuna auc­tions are car­ried out at dawn, was not af­fected.

In June, Tokyo’s gover­nor an­nounced a long-de­layed plan to move Tsuk­iji from its cur­rent site on some of the city’s most prime real es­tate to a man-made is­land with con­tam­i­nated soil. The outer mar­ket is not sched­uled to move.

Tokyo gover­nor Yuriko Koike said the mar­ket’s age and vul­ner­a­bil­ity to a ma­jor earth­quake meant it had to be re­built.

At the fire’s peak, 66 fire trucks and scores of fire­fight­ers worked to ex­tin­guish the blaze.

The fire was brought un­der con­trol af­ter 15 hours on Fri­day.

Among the places de­stroyed was a ra­men noo­dle shop ex­tremely pop­u­lar with for­eign tourists, me­dia said.

“The sec­ond floor’s a to­tal loss, and ev­ery­thing on the first floor was com­pletely soaked,” one shop owner told NHK pub­lic broad­caster.

worked to ex­tin­guish the 15-hour blaze

ZOU ZHENG / XIN­HUA

A con­tes­tant per­forms at the Toronto Caribbean Car­ni­val on Thurs­day. Hun­dreds of thou­sands of tourists flock to the Cana­dian city an­nu­ally to ex­pe­ri­ence the largest street fes­ti­val in North Amer­ica, high­lighted by cos­tumed dancers, live Caribbean mu­sic and ex­otic food and drinks.

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