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The Merced market fire, in which two people died. The Merced market fire, in which two people died.

Faulty electrical installations put 30 markets at risk

3 market fires in Mexico City triggered an inspection by authorities

The electrical wiring at 30 of Mexico City’s largest markets is in poor condition and poses a fire risk.

The city government inspected the electrical installations at the markets between January 2 and 14 after fires at the San Cosme, Merced and Abelardo Rodríguez markets in December.

According to a Secretariat of Economic Development (Sedeco) document seen by the newspaper El Universal, authorities detected wiring that was overloaded, in a state of disrepair and subject to overheating, all of which can trigger fires.

Of the 30 markets where wiring was not up to standard, 14 are in the central borough of Cuauhtémoc, 11 are in Venustiano Carranza and five are in Miguel Hidalgo. The government plans to inspect the electrical installations in all of Mexico City’s 329 markets but has given initial priority to 50 large ones.

Economic Development Secretary Fadlala Akabani said that when authorities detect a situation that poses a risk, they make arrangements for the problem to be fixed either through repair or replacement.

“That doesn’t mean that the faults are being corrected at the moment. When we finish [inspecting] the 50 markets, we’ll meet with the [borough] mayors” to develop a plan to modernize electrical installations in each market where problems were identified, he said.

Akabani said the first stage of inspections will finish by the end of this month after which the wiring in the city’s other 279 markets will be checked.

He also said that authorities have removed illegal wiring used by some stallholders to steal electricity, adding that there will be “permanent surveillance” to ensure that they don’t do it again.

Mexico City authorities indicated last month that they would also inspect gas and hydro-sanitary installations at public markets.

Last month’s market fires destroyed almost 1,000 stands at the San Cosme and La Merced markets. Two people died in the blaze at the latter, located in Mexico City’s historic center, while three vendors’ stands were destroyed in the fire the Abelardo Rodríguez market in Cuauhtémoc. Faulty electrical infrastructure was identified as the cause of all three fires.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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