material damage and 200 people out of work

Les Halles Mandar, which housed a wholesaler of aromatic herbs, fruit and vegetables, disappeared within two hours on Sunday 25 September. More than 200 employees are technically unemployed.

The exact causes of this spectacular fire are not yet known. The fire was seen around 12:30 p.m. on September 25 when France’s largest market was idle. Fortunately, no one was in the 7,000-square-meter warehouse that houses the Abramczyk family business, which specializes in herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Les Halles Mandar are unique in that they were built by the company when it moved its business to the new Rungis market in 1969 from the Halles district in central Paris. They benefited from a land concession from the State, owner of the premises. Only about fifteen wholesalers of the 1,200 companies present in the Market of National Interest (MIN) remain today in this situation.

Gourmet restaurants from the capital and even from the provinces flocked to the Halles Mandar to stock up. Boss Jacques Abramczyk and his two sons are well-known figures in the Rungis market employing more than 12,000 employees in this 234-hectare “city within a city.”

The Paris firefighters intervened in a quarter of an hour, but it was quickly decided not to fight the fire but to avoid contagion to other warehouses at all costs. More than 200 firefighters and 30 vehicles were present at the scene, coming from the barracks near Chevilly-Larue (Val-de-Marne) and from Paris.

The steel structure quickly collapsed under the effect of heat. In addition to the merchandise present in the place, what was burned were the plastic containers and the wooden pallets. There is no doubt that the firefighters, nor the Rungis firefighting team would venture into such a dangerous building.

Firefighters doused the flames with foam instead of water. An impressive plume of black smoke rose over the area visible from Paris where many residents[…]

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