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persons were present in the building and all of them rushed to the rooftop to escape suffocation. The KMC snorkel rescued them. The nearby residents and shopkeepers also shifted to safer places because they were unable to bear the heat of the raging fire.

The police and the law enforcement agencies (LEA) cordoned off the area and the Edhi ambulances were also present on the spot. Due to the presence of fire tenders in large numbers, a massive traffic jam was also witnessed on Sharae Quaideen. The water from fire engines with wooden planks and plastic sheets accumulated on the road creating a mess.

Meanwhile, Jamshed Town Nazim also visited the fire scene just after the incident. The area police has started preliminary investigations and also recorded the statement of the owner of the office as well as the chowkidar of the building.

(The News-14, 19/06/2007)

Clifton fire causes losses in millions

A major fire broke out in the Continental Trade Centre (CTC) a multi storey building next to Gulf Shopping Centre in Clifton on Saturday leaving five people injured and burning goods worth millions. Mercifully, no casualties were reported despite the fact that the basement and first two floors of the building were completely gutted by the fire.

Shop keepers complained that fire department was about 45 minutes late to reach the spot and according to them almost 50 shops were englufed by the fire by the time the fire fighters arrived. For its part, the city fire brigade says the KPT first attempted to contain the fire that later went out of control, following which they were called for further help.

According to eyewitnesses, fire broke out at about 11:30am in a shoe shop located in the corner of the ground floor of CTC but strong winds gave the blaze a new life and in minutes it multiplied, covering the entire floor and then the basement and then other floors.

It was a commercial building with a number of garments shops that contained silk clothes. This inflamable material caught fire repeatedly and caused difficulties in the rescue operation. More than 20 fire tenders from the City Fire Brigade department reached the spot along with two high snorkels and a rescue vehicle the town administration Saddar also provided machinery and manpower to help evacuate people.

A navy helicopter also participated in the rescue operation while fire tenders and hydrants from KPT, DHA and Navy also helped in containing the fire. A huge number of ambulances also reached the spot. The injured and unconscious were identified as Rashid 21, Mohsin 16, Irfan 22, Imran 25, Hina 20. They were all employed in shops at the CTC and were sent to Civil Hospital for medical treatment. Besides fire fighters and other rescue workers from civic agencies, shopkeepers also participated in containing the fire.

“The basement and first two floors have completely destroyed,” said Jamshed Bashir, proprietor of Majid and Sons a garment shop. “Fire brigade came 45 minutes after the fire broke out,” he lamented, adding, “We tried to contain the fire by ourselves and helped our people evacuate.”

He further said that only one ambulance arrived after they called for help. “We made several phone calls but no one took us seriously,” he said and added that when the fire went out of control then fire engines came to help but by that time more than 50 shops already been reduced to ashes. Bashir who also owns another shop “Jimy’s mobile” in the same market said that a generator burst out in one of the shops that resulted in fire.

Another shop keeper M. Fahim Khan who has an embroidery shop told The News that when they phoned fire brigade only one shoe shop was trapped by fire which could easily be contained if the fire fighting vehicles were in time. “When a couple of shops caught fire we started to rush out of the building but within few minutes the entire building was under fire, said Farooq Khan, owner of KGN boutique situated in the affected building. He added, “There were goods costing millions of rupees that were completely destroyed. Each shop had goods that worth at least Rs0.5 to 1 million.”

The shop keepers, annoyed at what they thought was a late response on part of the rescue services lamented that they lost their expensive goods and besides they now have to reconstruct their shops and start from zero again. One of them said his business was finished and since the infra structure of the building collapsed therefore it might be sealed and he has to look for new place and restart his business. When asked if their shops were insured, most of them denied this and one person said that this area is a safe place when ever or what ever happens in the city this area is never closed so there is no need for insurance.

An estate agent who requested anonymity told this correspondent that the fire was not caused by any generator it was due to the short circuit that took place in the shops that have been illegally built by the same traders. These shops, he said, have been built in the passage adjacent the building. These 20 to 25 small shops are illegal and have been provided three phase meters that were in poor state in addition to being insecure which often caused extra load on the main power supply this is why these shops caught fire.

A source from Saddar town said that they provided machinery to help clear up the debris and manpower to help evacuate people. “We deployed lifters near the building and with their help we broke side walls in order to evacuate people,” he said, adding, “The wind was blowing very strong that increased the fire and then rain started which created difficulties in the operation. The heavy smoke caused suffocation and few people fell unconscious including one of our workers. We have also provided light arrangement so that operation could continue at night as well.”

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