The fire that broke out last Wednesday morning at Sharjah's Al Ghuwair market has not affected trade, and it was business as usual for shopkeepers as customers milled around burnt shops in search of bargains.
The rows of broken windows and soot-blackened shops have not put off shoppers, who said they were not worried about safety.
"A friend of mine told me that the shops were selling their goods at low prices, so we came here together to take a look. The shops still look solid and I did not have any worry about entering them," said Umm Abdullah.
Electricity and water have been disconnected to the shops and even though the premises have been gutted, it did not stop shopkeepers from doing business.
"I used to sell a yard of silk for Dh25, but now I have to settle to sell it for only Dh5. I lost many goods, but am selling off the ones that were saved. It is the only way that I can make money to rebuild the shop," said Rahman Khan, as he stood outside his burnt shop selling textiles in the middle of an alley.
No shop insured
None of the affected shops was insured, and shopkeepers emphasised that they will have to rebuild their shops with their own means.
A senior official at Sharjah Civil Defence said 12 shops were destroyed by the blaze, which broke out at 3.30am the day before National Day.
Eyewitnesses said they heard an explosion and then saw fire spread to the nearby shops which contained shoes, cosmetics, costume jewellery and textiles. After the fire was put out, police launched investigations to determine the cause of the fire, which is suspected to have been an electrical malfunction.
Rebuilding once more
"My shop was built in 1984 and was burnt down on December 4, 1992. Now, almost 20 years later, the shop has been burnt down again and I have to re-build it once more," said Noor Al Deen Mohammad.
"But I will do it. If I managed before, then I can do it again, and I will stay outside my shop until midnight if I have to so that I can continue selling," he added.
Brigadier General Abdullah Saeed Al Suwaidi said there were no injuries or casualties, although the fire spread to two apartments above the shops.
The apartments continue to be occupied by shopkeepers, who said they were not deterred by the electricity being disconnected.