Saturday June 22, 2024

Karachi furniture market fire death toll rises to 5

Blaze severely damaged ground, mezzanine floor of six-storey commercial-cum-residential building

By Qamar Ali
December 07, 2023
Firefighters try to control blazes that broke out at furniture shops at Ayesha Manzil in Karachi on December 06, 2023. — Online
Firefighters try to control blazes that broke out at furniture shops at Ayesha Manzil in Karachi on December 06, 2023. — Online

The death count from Wednesday's building fire in Karachi's Federal B Area has jumped to five after the blaze was finally extinguished, and the building's cooling process was completed on Thursday.

The tragic incident occurred when a six-storey commercial-cum-residential building, named Arshi Shopping Centre, caught fire on Shahrah-e-Pakistan near Ayesha Manzil in District Central's Federal B Area.

There were residents present inside the building at the time of the incident, which made the situation even more unfortunate.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire started when one of the shops caught fire during welding work on the ground floor. Unfortunately, the flames later spread to other shops that were part of the furniture market under the building.

The Ayesha Manzil furniture market has over 250 shops on the ground floor, while furniture, mattresses, and petroleum products are kept on the mezzanine floor. Additionally, there are 450 residential flats on the upper four floors.

There were concerns that the building had weakened due to the fire and could collapse at any time.

However, the building was completely evacuated within two hours, as the Fire Department teams reached the site and acted swiftly to douse the blaze after it was reported.

As a result of the fire, the death toll which previously stood at four, has now increased to five after rescue personnel recovered another body from the fire-affected residential building.

"The body found on the first floor of the shopping mall was taken to the hospital," rescue officials revealed. "The deceased died of suffocation and burns."

"The number of people killed in the incident has increased to 5, one person is injured," rescue officials said. Moreover, the rescue operations that continued till late last night have been completed.

As a result of the fire, the ground floor and mezzanine floor of the apartment building, according to officials, have been severely damaged.

The firefighting snorkels of the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC), Fire Brigade, and Pakistan Navy participated in the rescue operation to douse the flames.

Authorities also revealed that goods worth hundreds of thousands of rupees were completely gutted due to fire, and many motorcycles and vehicles were also burnt.

Following last night's blaze, the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) sealed the Arshi Shopping Centre.

"After the inspection, it will be decided whether the building is fit for use or not," the SBCA said.