Firefighters battle blaze at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market

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Smoke and flames rose from row of wooden stores, but Toko fire department confirmed no one was injured or hurt

Dozens of firefighters have battled a fire at Tokyos famous Tsukiji fish market, an area packed with tiny seafood vendors, sushi restaurants and tourists.

Efforts to bring the fire under control continued late into Thursday evening.

Clouds of gray smoke and orange flames rose from a row of wooden stores in an area called the outer market. The street outside was filled with fire engines. Pedestrians walked briskly by, covering their noses and mouths with towels.

The Tokyo fire department said no one was injured or trapped because the fire broke out after the shops closed.

Tsukiji market is popular among tourists. Its inner market, where tuna auctions are held and seafood traders vie to buy raw ingredients for Japans finest sushi and other dishes, was not affected.

First there was only smoke, then it kept getting worse, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the popular sushi restaurant Sushizanmai, told TV Asahi.

Tsukiji market is at the center of a dispute over its relocation. The Tokyo city governments plan to move the fish market to another site has been delayed because of the contamination of underground water at the new complex in Toyosu.

In June, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike announced a plan to go ahead with the inner markets move to Toyosu, while turning Tsukiji into a food theme park. The outer market will stay.

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