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Shanghai market where vendors lived closes over fire fears

2014-07-02 12:43 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Yao Lan

A construction materials market where stallholders lived, worked and stored their goods was closed yesterday by government of Shanghai's Baoshan district over fire risks.

The 52 store owners and their families at the 28,000-square-meter Haishen Construction Material Market, literally the Sea God Market, in Dachang Town have been relocated.

This follows a joint campaign by the district, town and village governments and police.

This relocation could become a successful city model to tackle the "three-in-one" arrangement combining home, warehouse and business in the same shop.

It is popular at local construction materials, grocery and pet markets because it can save costs for the owners but presents great fire risks.

Relocation was finished yesterday at the market on Hutai Road.

There were no fire prevention facilities in the market, one of the biggest in the city for decorating and construction materials.

More than 400 people lived there, cooking meals and conducting business among stores of wood and other materials.

"The market had many inflammable materials such as wood and foam plates and a large population squeezed together," said an official with the village management committee.

People living there used liquid gas bottles and coal balls for cooking, the official added.

Most of the stores were single story buildings but the owners added a second story to live in. All will be dismantled, he said.

The land was previously farmland belonging to the village which rented the land to the Haishen Co, which later developed into the market.

The company refused to quit after the lease expired in 2013 and the stallholders remained.

District and town government along with fire prevention, police and urban construction authority began relocating households in October 2013.

The market had not only posed a fire hazard but also caused a management mess in the surrounding area with many small bath houses, hostels and Internet cafes, a township government official said.

The three-in-one model has been popular among many local markets. The Heishan Road Flower Market in Yangpu District has gathered 147 households along a 1,000-meter long market. Yangpu District government said it had asked all owners to leave at night.

China's State Council has asked local governments to end "three-in-one" arrangements.

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