On Thursday, a massive fire broke out in a shoe warehouse in Plaza Oasis marketplace in Mexico City’s Centro neighborhood, leaving hundreds of vendors unemployed.
Firefighters worked through the night to clear debris after extinguishing the blaze early Friday morning. Vendors said around 200 families were impacted by the incident, which they believe may have been sparked by welding work.
“Hundreds of flip-flops, stuffed animals and merchandise burned in the Plaza Oasis warehouse,” said Sergio Jiménez Barrios, a merchant leader.
Jiménez said at least two floors of the four-story building collapsed from the flames.
Merchants Appeal for Government Loans as Peak Sales Season Approaches
With the busy holiday shopping season approaching, merchants appealed to Mayor Martí Batres to provide loans to resume operations.
Bags and boxes of rescued merchandise were scattered around the Plaza del Estudiante after vendors hurried to save goods before the fire consumed them.
“We ask the mayor for support for this ‘high season’,” said one vendor.
Fire Contained to One Floor to Prevent Further Damage
The blaze was contained to one floor of the marketplace to stop it from spreading and causing additional damage. Five firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
Investigation Launched Into Fire Causes
The Mexico City Attorney General’s Office has opened an investigation into the criminal offense of arson regarding Thursday’s fire. Investigators are gathering video footage and interviewing witnesses to determine the cause.
The four-story Plaza Oasis building housed vendors selling shoes, stuffed animals, backpacks, and other imported goods, often in bulk quantities at wholesale prices. While approximately 20 locations were severely impacted, about 200 businesses were spared from destruction.
Vendors Face Huge Losses Before the Holiday Season
While no injuries or fatalities occurred, the fire represented a devastating loss for merchants storing and selling goods in the market. The incident struck just before the peak holiday shopping period when many vendors saw a sharp uptick in sales.
Authorities continue search and recovery efforts as they work to identify the origins of the blaze and hold any guilty parties accountable.