By Libya Herald Reporters.
Tripoli, 19 January 2015:
A massive fire has devastated Tripoli’s largest supermarket today. Initial reports said that seat of . . .[restrict]the fire was in a ground-floor bakery where it had been triggered by an electrical fault. However, the Islamist group Daesh, has claimed that it was responsible for the fire.which broke out at around 12.40 this afternoon.
On a social media site associated with the terrorist group, the claim was made that the Souk Attalat Aljaded had been destroyed because it sold items that were considered “haram” – forbidden under a fundamentalist version Islamist teaching.
It is possible that the Daesh claim is spurious although it a cell certainly appears to now exist in Tripoli despite statements to the contrary by the Hassi “government”.
There have also been assertions on social media that the fire began among a pile of rubbish at the back of the building and then again that it had started somewhere on the second floor.
A witness who supported this latter theory was quoted as saying that the alarm system had not worked. Staff were yelling for people to get out. It was alleged that as some customers fled, they seized goods and took them out of the store with them.
Pictures on social media appeared to show smoke coming from the high windows of a single storey building, while the rest of the supermarket seemed to be unaffected.
Initial estimate put losses at LD 30 million for fittings and goods destroyed and damage to the building at LD 60 million. The building is owned by the government. It was leased five years ago to a private partnership.
It is being said that the first fire engine did not arrive until half an hour after the emergency call went out. By that time, the blaze, fanned by moderate winds, had taken hold and had turned into an inferno.
A video clip shows a singe fire engine spraying an intermittently powerful jet of water at the flames on the ground floor. By the time further fire appliances arrived, the top two floors of the building had already collapsed.
Casualties are unknown as yet. Officials have insisted that the only one from the fire was a man whose face was burnt. [/restrict]