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Fire destroys market in Poti

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, July 11
Half of the shops and stalls were burnt at the main market in Georgia’s Black Sea city of Poti due to an extensive fire that broke out on Monday morning.

A total of nine fire engines were trying to extinguish the fire, out of which five were from Poti and the rest from neighboring districts.

The fire was localized after several hours, but in total around 2000 square meters of market territory has been burnt.

Fire-affected traders suspect that the fire at Poti market was deliberately caused. They have asked the government for assistance.

"My two stores were totally burned. Somebody deliberately set fire to the building. As a rule, electricity is usually turned off at nights here," said one of the traders.

One of the vendors who lost everything in fire even tried to commit suicide by cutting the veins of her wrist.

Poti's Clinical Hospital head, Tea Migineishvili, says the woman, 40, is safe now and her health condition is stable.

Poti Mayor Irakli Kakulia said that expensive goods were burnt and the situation is 'grave'. He noted that a special commission will study the situation and calculate the loss.

Governor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Levan Shonia, also visited the burnt market. He said the fire fighters did a very good job and saved half of the shops.

“We are very well aware of the situation of the vendors; we know that they have bank loans, but while the expertise does not publish its results, we cannot say anything,” he stated.

Poti Agrarian Marker Director, Thea Belkania, says that not a single vendor had any insurance for their goods. She says the losses are huge.

Some time ago fire destroyed two market places in Tbilisi - The Children's World and Eliava Market.

The exact cause of the fire at both markets is not known yet.