MANAGUA – Dozens of Nicaraguan merchants began Monday the arduous task of trying to salvage goods after a fire destroyed some 6,430 sq. meters (69,000 sq. ft.) of Managua’s Eastern Market.
“My work was here. I come this morning to recover something,” grocer Mercedes Rocha told EFE while municipal workers cleared away debris.
The blaze broke out around 5 am Sunday and firefighters needed more than four hours to bring it under control, the Managua government said.
In Rocha’s shop, the only thing to survive the fire was some laundry detergent. The produce – and a day’s takings – were consumed in the flames.
Another merchant who lost everything in the blaze said he hopes that the municipal and national governments will provide some assistance to those affected by the disaster.
Carlos Gutierrez told EFE that his business was supporting as many as 20 people, counting employees and their families.
More than 1,000 people in all, including firefighters, police, and city workers, took part in Sunday’s operation to douse the flames and secure the area, authorities said.
While no one was hurt in the fire, at least 60 individual shops were affected, according to a preliminary estimate.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
Eastern Market has been the scene of dozens of fires over the decades, but Sunday’s was the worst since August 2008, when more than 40 shops were reduced to ashes.