MORE than 200 people could lose their jobs after a fire ripped through parts of Haiti’s famous Iron Market.
The owners of the many tables and designated sections of the Iron Market complex said more than 200 people - stall owners and employees - now face an uncertain future. But they added they are committed to finding the reason that started the fire that devastated the market.
Many say it was politically motivated. Some say that it was mystically motivated, however the people who run stalls in the markets may lose their livelihoods, and the Haitian government is financially ill-equipped to help them get their businesses back.
As many as 20 firefighters and volunteers tackled the blaze at its height, as thousands of people and shocked locals looked on.
The fire wrecked the market, its shops, and many large scale poultry sellers in this major commerce section of Laville )Port-au-Prince’s’s downtown area.) The fire raged for hours, before the Haitian Fire Brigade eventually brought it under control. Fortunately, there are no reports of any injuries.
The Iron Market once had a worldwide reputation and enjoyed millions of visitors a year. Hopefully, the stallholders and the local community can come together to show that they are fully committed to rebuilding the market as quickly as possible.
Joseph Legume a local business owner said: “It is absolutely devastated. When I walked in there, it took my breath away. I was not expecting it to be that bad”.
From the road, it looks bad enough, but it is not until you are inside that you see the full extent of the damage.
Despite this, many businesses remain open in the Laville section of Port-au-Prince. The other surrounding markets are open, and many shops and bars are now able to reopen as well.
Merchants of the devastated Iron Market, have been assessing the damage to their stalls.
Marie France Claude an Iron Market merchant said: “In a word, I’m devastated. Everyone I have spoken to is in complete shock. Clearly, there is severe damage, but we are just hoping that we can restart our businesses.”
The Iron Market fire which is among 4 other large Market fires during the past few years, also affected the structural integrity of the property. Although many merchants expect to reopen their small businesses, it is impossible to say exactly when Haiti could possibly rebuild the Iron Market.
Related: Fire in PAP Iron Market