Market fire in China's Shenzhen kills 16

Firefighters clear debris from a market damaged by fire in Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong province, 11 December 2013 Firefighters cleared debris at the scene after the fire was extinguished

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A fire in a farmers' fruit market in south China's Shenzhen has killed at least 16 people and injured at least three, officials say.

The fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday and spread to an area of around 1,000 sq m (0.4 sq miles), the local fire department said.

It took around two hours to extinguish the fire. Around 145 firefighters were at the scene, officials said.

Authorities said they were investigating the cause of the blaze.

The fire started at 01:30 local time (17:30 GMT) at the Rongjian Farmers' Market in Shenzhen's Gongming District, the Shenzhen fire department and Shenzhen emergency management office said on their verified microblog accounts.

The city deployed 29 fire engines, and the fire was extinguished at 03:00 local time (19:00 GMT), they added.

Search and rescue and clean-up operations were still under way at 08:00, the fire department said.

The market remained shut on Wednesday morning, while a main road near the market was closed off in both directions, state-run broadcaster CCTV said, citing one of its reporters.

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