31 Mar 2017

Solomons council monitoring situation after market fire

2:58 pm on 31 March 2017

The Honiara City Council in Solomon Islands is closely monitoring the situation at the Honiara Central Market complex after a fire yesterday afternoon.

The fire at the Honiara Central Market.

The fire at the Honiara Central Market. Photo: Supplied/ Honiara City Council

The market known to locals as the "Main Market" or "Big Market" is the primary source of fresh produce for the capital.

Although investigations are still underway it is understood the fire started when a gas cylinder exploded inside a fish and chip shop at the northern end of the market near the fish vendors.

The deputy clerk of the Honiara City Council Fred Warereau says so far there have been no reports of anyone being hurt by the initial explosion or the fire.

He said fortunately water tankers working on the roads were close by and helped put out the fire as the fire department took a while to get to the scene due to peak hour traffic.

Mr Warereau says market activities resumed today although police have cordoned off the area of the fire.

He said the council is monitoring the safety situation and will only close the market if it is absolutely necessary as vendors travel, sometimes for days over land and sea, from all corners of the country with perishable goods to sell at the market.

Honiara Central Market fire.

Honiara Central Market fire. Photo: Supplied/ Honiara City Council

"If we see that the situation is hazardous for vendors and market users then we will most definitely call for the market to be closed maybe from tomorrow. But yesterday it was too short notice to close the market because the problem is if we are to close the market we have to give a week's notice."