CAUSE OF FISH MAR­KET FIRE UN­DER PROBE

Fire tore through seven build­ings at pop­u­lar 80-year-old Tsuk­iji fish mar­ket

New Straits Times - - World -

TOKYO

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump 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 still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. 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 three­storey build­ing and that peo­ple had re­ported smelling smoke prior to the fire’s start in Tsuk­iji’s “outer” mar­ket, an area packed with in­for­mal restau­rants where tourists can tuck into fresh seafood and sushi.

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

The Tsuk­iji “in­ner” mar­ket, where most seafood whole­salers 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 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.

Gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike had said the mar­ket’s age and vul­ner­a­bil­ity to a big earth­quake meant it had to be re­built.

At the fire’s peak, some 66 fire trucks and scores of fire­fight­ers worked to ex­tin­guish the blaze, their ef­forts ham­pered by nar­row streets and tightly-packed build­ings. The fire was brought un­der con­trol around mid­night and ex­tin­guish yes­ter­day morn­ing.

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

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

AFP PIC

Fire­fight­ers bat­tling the blaze at the Tsuk­iji fish mar­ket in Tokyo on Thurs­day.

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