A massive fire broke out at Rani Jhansi shoe market in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area in the early hours of Sunday, destroying several shops, officials said.

Thirty-nine fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Over 200 firefighters toiled for nearly five hours to douse the blaze. No one was seriously injured in the fire and the cooling operation is underway, they said.

The cause of the fire is not known yet, the officials said.

“A serious fire call was received from a shoe market in Gaffar, Karol Bagh, at 4.16 am and 39 fire tenders were rushed to the spot,” Delhi Fire Services (DFS) Director Atul Garg said.

He said none of the shops that caught fire had a no objection certificate from the fire department.

The fire department said shops in the shoe market are normally located on the ground floors of buildings while the upper floors are used as godowns.

Garg said the firefighters faced difficulty in reaching the spot as it was in a narrow congested lane.

“Lots of loose wires were hanging in the market which is dangerous and causes inconvenience too. There was a shortage of water resources to douse the fire. The construction of the building is weak, so the structures have already developed cracks,” he added.

According to police, Rani Jhansi market houses wholesale footwear shops and six-seven of them were gutted in the fire.

Local police reached the spot immediately and cordoned off the area. Electricity supply to the area was cut off, the officials said.

“Besides local police and Delhi Fire Services personnel, staff from CATS ambulance, Delhi Civil Defence, Delhi Disaster Management Authority and traffic police were present at the spot. The local police have been in touch with the MWA of the market to ensure that other shops remained closed.

“DM Central and SDM Karol Bagh have also physically inspected the spot in the afternoon,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Shweta Chauhan said.

DFS personnel are carrying out a cooling operation at the site, she said.

According to the DFS, the fire has weakened the two buildings housing the affected shops. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi was informed about it, the DCP said.

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