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Market Fire Rages on in India, Thousands of Shops Gutted


Firefighters in India continue to battle a huge fire at one of the country's biggest wholesale markets in the eastern city of Kolkata.

The blaze has destroyed at least 4,000 shops, but no serious injuries are reported.

The military was called in Sunday to help battle the fire, but water shortages, equipment problems and stores packed with flammable products complicated efforts.

Officials say the cause of the fire remains unclear.

Monday, the blaze burned on the upper floors of a 14-story building in the complex. Officials say they hope to have the fire contained within hours.

The historic Burrabazar market has clusters of makeshift shops and unplanned and unauthorized constructions, including several multi-story buildings.

The fire started in the early morning hours Saturday.

It quickly turned into an inferno because flammable material was stored in many shops and houses. Officials estimate that the fire caused more than $50 million in damages.

Angry residents have criticized authorities, saying firefighters were slow in responding. Burrabazar is one one of the most densely populated areas of Kolkata, the capital of India's West Bengal state.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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