Fire at 85-year-old market reduces 170 shops to ashes

More than 170 shops at the 85-year-old heritage Russel Market here, selling goods ranging from fish to flowers, were reduced to ashes following a major fire that broke out early on Saturday, police said.

There were no casualties, they said, adding they suspected electrical short circuit to be the cause of the fire.

The fire broke out around 4.10 am in Russel Market in Shivajinagar police station limits, they said.

Built during British rule in 1927, the market housed shops that sold goods such as fruits, mutton, fish, vegetable and flowers.

Around 20 firefighters fought for over five hours to douse the fire, police said. Bruhut Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Shankaralinge Gowda, who visited the spot, said officials were estimating the damage and suitable compensation would be announced in the event of vendors losing their shops in the inferno.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G Parameshwar, who visited the spot along with area legislator Roshan Baig, demanded payment of compensation to the affected immediately.

Parameshwar said the BJP-ruled BBMP had failed to steps to maintain and repair the heritage market.

"If BBMP had taken appropriate steps to maintain and repair the building, the mishap would have been avoided," he said.

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