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After assessing the situation, the city nazim had to call CFO Kazim Ali at the place of the incident and reinstated him only on verbal orders.

Unlike the army and police services, survivors of “Shaheed” firemen do not receive monthly salary and other benefits.

Instead of special insurance policy, the firemen are provided with the general group insurance policy which is compulsory for all government servants.

In case of death in line of duty, the heirs of a fireman receive an amount of Rs300,000. Jobs were earlier provided to his blood relations, but due to recent ban on jobs this practice too suffered, insiders said adding that the jobs offered to such relatives recently were contract-based.

So far 17 firemen and officers of fire brigade department have sacrificed their lives and four rendered handicapped while saving citizens since 1958.

First accidental death of a fireman was recorded in 1958 when a huge fire broke out in a fireworks factory at Bohri Bazaar. Khannan Khan, the unfortunate fireman, succumbed to the burn wounds while extinguishing the fire.

Fireman Qamaruddin lost his life while attempting to save the life of a child who got trapped in a building where a major fire had erupted at Khajoor Bazaar in 1965. But, he neither succeeded to bring out the child nor managed to save his own life as the building structure collapsed during his attempt.

Alam Khan died of suffocation while he was striving to rescue some labourers who were trapped in an oil tanker, which caught fire in 1971.

In 1985, fireman Abdul Ghaffar Khan drowned to death when he was searching the body of a drowned child in a lake.

Sub Fire Officer Muhammad Shafiq was shot dead in 1992 by some miscreants while he was busy in putting off the fire that broke in a shop near Khokhrapar Post Officer.

Fireman Waseem Shaikh died of inhalation of toxic chemicals in 1992 while controlling the fire, which broke out at a chemical godown near Ran Pathani Railway Station.

Sub Fire Officer Abdul Majeed was crushed under the front wheel of a fire tender, which had rushed to Shershah to extinguish fire in 1992.

In 1995, fireman Gulam Rasool was busy in extinguishing the fire of a truck, which was set ablaze by miscreants at Korangi 5 ½ when he received bullet wounds in a cross fire between the miscreants and police. He was taken to the hospital but succumbed to the wounds during the operation.

In 1997, Sub Fire Officer Muhammad Siddique was shot dead by unknown assailants when he was on duty at the Central Fire Station, Baba-i-Urdu Road.

In 2006, Sub Fire Officer Aqeel Ahmad and firemen Sher Ahmad and Zubair Ahmad lost their lives in Site fire tragedy.

Fire Station Officer Zafar Akhtar died in a chemical godown while struggling to put off fire last year.

This year’s first incident of fire left six firemen dead as a result of roof collapse while they were extinguishing the fire that broke out in a garment godown.

Besides, several firemen were rendered handicapped, many received burn wounds while discharging their duties following the back draft of fire and caving in of affected buildings.

(By S. Raza Hassan, Dawn-17, 17/01/2007)

4 trapped firemen feared dead: Rescue operation enters day two

KARACHI, Jan 16: Hopes of rescuing alive the four firemen trapped under the rubble of the fire-wrecked factory faded on Tuesday as a rescue operation, supervised by army men, entered its second day.

Five firemen were killed and 18 injured on Monday when a four-storey garment factory caved in after a devastating blaze in the Site area.

An injured fireman succumbed to injuries at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital on Tuesday, taking the death toll to six.

Rescue workers say the main problem impeding the rescue operation of the trapped victims is the strewn debris comprising large boulders covering the entire accident site.

Heavy equipment such as crane-drillers and shovels are being used for removing the debris from the rear and front of the collapsed four-storey portion of the factory, but the operation is proceeding at an extremely slow pace, unable to penetrate through the debris from the collapsed ceilings of three floors where the victims still lie buried.

Ali Manzil, a fireman, told Dawn that the rescue workers had identified the four firemen trapped under the rubble as Ahmed Noor, Naseer, Fareed Khan, and Fire Officer Imtiazul Haq.

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