Firefighters put out a huge fire that hit a 103-year-old fruit market in Yau Ma Tei on Sunday.
No one was injured in the blaze, but stall owners in the wholesale fruit market said it could lead to a sharp increase in fruit prices before the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The fire started at around 4 p.m. in one of the stalls, and quickly spread to neighboring stalls.
It reached the No. 3 alarm, and was so big people from Central could see the black smoke billowing from the market.
The fire was put under control at around 8 p.m. and put out completely an hour later, the Fire Services Department said.
At least eight water hoses, three turntable ladders and eight teams of firefighters with breathing equipment were deployed to the scene.
Firefighters also saved several cats and dogs that had been left by some stall operators to guard against thieves and mice.
A preliminary investigation suggested that the fire started at a stall that was being renovated, although probers were still trying to determine the cause of the fire.
Some affected stall operators said the fire occurred right after they increased their fruit inventories in anticipation of a hike in demand for the Moon Festival, which falls on Sept. 15.
The market had been hit by fires before, including one in 2012 and another in 2014.
The wholesale fruit market was built in 1913 and comprised several two-storey buildings classified as Grade II historic buildings by the Antiquities Advisory Board in 2009.
In 1969 the Executive Council agreed to relocate the market to two government-run markets in Cheung Sha wan and Kwai Chung, but the plan has been shelved amid land reclassification issues.
Another plan to move the market to Tsing Yi was proposed earlier this year.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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