A major fire erupted at an Iranian market in Ajman, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), on Wednesday, multiple local news outlets reported.
UAE’s Civil Defense rushed fire engines and police to the scene, where firefighters are currently still trying to put out the reportedly “raging” fire at press time. Eyewitness footage of the blaze posted to social media shows thick plumes of smoke billowing into the sky above the surrounding area. It remains unclear if the fire has caused any injuries or deaths.
— صحيفة الخليج (@alkhaleej) August 5, 2020
“The fire is believed to have started at the Iranian souq [bazaar]” in Ajman’s industrial area at about 6:30 PM local time Wednesday, Abu Dhabi-based newspaper the National reported. The souq was not open at the time of the fire. According to the newspaper, it has been shut down for “several months” due to Chinese coronavirus safety measures.
The Iranian souq is located near Ajman Speciality Hospital and opposite a separate fruit and vegetable market.
“Workers at the neighboring market described how flames quickly engulfed the area. The medical facility was evacuated as a precautionary measure due to the close proximity of the raging fire,” the National noted.
“[C]ivil defense teams have diverted traffic” towards the industrial area “until the blaze can be brought under control,” Dubai’s Khaleej Times reported.
The Iranian souq is “home to dozens of traders” and “a popular attraction in Ajman, drawing visitors from across the Emirates,” according to the National.
News of Ajman’s fire comes one day after a major explosion at a port in Beirut rocked the Lebanese capital, killing at least 135 people, injuring roughly 5,000 more, and leaving thousands homeless. The exact cause of Beirut’s explosion remains unclear.
Over the weekend, the U.A.E announced the launch of its first nuclear power plant, “built by a consortium led by the Korea Electric Power Corporation,” the Hindu reported.
“Qatar, a rival of the U.A.E., is jealous and instructed its Al Jazeera broadcast network to describe the U.A.E. … [nuclear] program as ‘controversial’,” the Jerusalem Post observed.
The plant is located in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, about 100 miles southwest of Ajman. Both cities are located along the Persian Gulf Coast.