DUSHANBE, September 1, 2008, Asia-Plus  -- Investigation has determined that unidentified arsonists caused an August 13 fire at Dushanbe’s Korvon market, according to the main firefighting directorate within the Ministry of Interior (MoI).  

“Our investigators have determined that unidentified arsonists caused the fire that destroyed an area of 2,100 square meters at the market,” the source at the firefighting service said, noting that they are currnely working to identify the arsonists..  

We will recall that the fire broke out at Dushanbe’s largest merchandise market, Korvon, on August 13 early in the morning, at around 1:00 a.m.  The firefighting service dispatched twelve units to fight the blaze that had destroyed an area of 2,100 square meters.  Fortunately, no casualties were reported.   Entrepreneurs working with the market said that the fire had destroyed some 60 containers and two warehouses, causing damage for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On August 15, some 200 entrepreneurs that were affected by the fire appealed to President Emomali Rahmon.  In an open letter released to the president, the entrepreneurs, in particular, claimed that the Korvon market fire had been caused by arson and their commodities stored in special containers and warehouses had been stolen by unknown persons before the fire.

The letter notes that electricity supplies to the market are cut off every day at 4:00 p.m., and therefore, the fire could not be caused by an electrical malfunction.

 The entrepreneurs asked the president to order the relevant agencies to thoroughly investigate into the incident.  They also asked the president for assistance with solving the issue of rehabilitation of their shops and exempting them from paying taxes during two years.  

Over the past two years, several fires have occurred at the Korvon market.