• Kyodo

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A fire nearly destroyed a local shopping district in the city of Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, Wednesday but no injuries were reported.

About 50 people evacuated to a near elementary school from the Okura Market district, where shop owners dwell among their stores.

The district, which stretches for about 80 meters, has around 30 stores, most of which had closed before the fire broke out.

According to the Akashi municipal office, the fire gutted about 2,600 sq. meters of floor space.

The fire broke out in the district at around 3:45 p.m. and media reports said it took more than six hours to put it out, using 25 fire trucks. Police are investigating to determine what caused the blaze.

“I saw a smoke at a storefront and immediately called 119. I tried to put it out with water using a hose at my store but the fire spread really quickly,” said a 70-year-old woman who was working at a flower stop in the district.

The district is near Okuradani Station, operated by Sanyo Electric Railway Co.

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