Fire wreaks havoc in Leepa Valley of Pakistani Kashmir

Islamabad, Jan 30 (IANS) A fire destroyed over 90 shops, houses, vehicles and a food depot in a commercial area in the Leepa Valley in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir, officials and residents told Pakistani media on Monday.

Leepa Valley is to the east of Muzaffarabad, the capital city of the region.

The fire, reportedly caused by electrical short-circuiting in a shop, destroyed millions of rupees’ worth of merchandise, locals said.

The blaze started arround 11.00 p.m. Sunday night and rapidly engulfed the entire market, Jhelum Valley’s Deputy Commissioner Abdul Hameed Kiani told Dawn.

Since nearly all affected structures were made from wood and connected with each other, the fire spread rapidly even as owners watched their belongings being reduced to ashes, he said.

When the winter sets in, Leepa Valley becomes inaccessible to vehicles as the only road link to the area runs through the over-9,800 feet high Birthwar Gali.

A state-owned food depot, where 1,400 tons of wheat flour was stored, was also reduced to ashes, Kiani said. A mosque was partially damaged in the blaze.

–IANS

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