Renovations expected soon

City finishes cleanup of Erbil’s Qaysari Bazaar after devastating fire

ERBIL — Cleanup operations at Erbil’s historic Qaysari Bazaar ended on Saturday, nearly a week after a devastating fire destroyed part of the sprawling market.

Initially estimated to take up to 10 days, crews reportedly worked around the clock to finish operations ahead of schedule.

“The cleanup process at Qaysari Bazaar is finished, and the work was completed very quickly, with a significant number of workers involved,” said Zhiar Jalal, Erbil’s Director of Street Cleaning. Debris from the site, including waste and ash, would be stored before analysis and disposal, Jalal added.

A source from the Erbil governorate who spoke on condition of anonymity indicated to 964media that restoration and renovation of the bazaar would begin within days.

The May 5 fire destoryed 227 shops and seven warehouses, and injured 132 individuals. Officials have no exact estimate of the blaze’s total cost, however, one trader shared that his losses neared $500,000.

The Qaysari incident was the latest of a spate of recent fires that have engulfed markets in Erbil. The city has witnessed nine large-scale bazaar fires since the beginning of the year, all resulting in substantial financial losses.

Initial reports had suggested the May 5 fire was caused by an electrical short. That same claim was used to explain a number of other fires. The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Electricity formed an investigative committee in response, but said in a statement it found no evidence to confirm the fire was caused by an electrical issue.

During a visit to the Qaysari Bazaar, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said his government was urging an investigation into the fires to determine root causes. “We need to understand whether they are intentional or there’s negligence or non-compliance with regulations,” Barzani stated.

Reiterating the need for swift investigations, he directed his comments to Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw who joined him on the visit. “This investigation needs to be conducted as quickly as possible,” Barzani said.

Additionally, Iraq’s acting parliament speaker, Muhsin Al-Mandalawi, directed the formation of a committee on May 9 to investigate the fire.

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