Shop owners lament loss of livelihood in Mina Zayed market fire

The fire broke out at 5am on Sunday destroying 16 shops in total.

ABU DHABI // Shopowners were on Monday counting the cost of a fire that swept through the Fruit and Vegetable Market at Mina Zayed, destroying 16 shops.

They say they are now waiting to hear if they can recover losses from the blaze, which broke out at 5am on Sunday, through insurance claims. No one was injured in the fire.

Shopkeepers said they thought it was caused by an electrical fault and that millions of dirhams in damage had been done, but police have not finished investigating.

On Monday the area was littered with burnt sacks and damaged fruit and vegetables.

The entire area was still cordoned off.

“I lost everything in yesterday’s fire,” said shopowner Saeed Kazmi. “I don’t know what will happen. The officials are taking details about the losses.”

The market is popular with Emiratis, residents and tourists.

“I lost everything and nothing left can be used again. My shop was full with vegetables and fruits,” said another shopkeeper, Mohammed Osman.

Col Abdullah Al Zaabi, acting director of Civil Defence, said firefighters from three stations and the quick response unit from Al Falah responded to the fire.

Their swift work had prevented it from spreading to neighbouring stalls and the adjacent commercial shops, Col Al Zaabi said.

A trader whose shop was undamaged in the fire said: “Each shop has plenty of big refrigerating equipment with additional air-conditioning unit and all were burnt to ashes.”

The trader, who asked to remain anonymous, believed total losses would amount to millions of dirhams.

He said he felt sad for his fellow traders whose livelihoods had been ruined.

“It’ll take time to rebuilt after the official procedures are over and it will require a huge amount of money to restart their businesses,” he said.