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June 25, 2016

Three factories gutted in massive fires in one day

Karachi

 
June 25, 2016

Karachi

Questions over ineptness of the city’s fire fighting system were raised once again as some fire tenders ran out of water while others failed to reach a spot on time as massive fires engulfed three factories in separate industrial areas, on Friday.

While fires at two factories, located in SITE and Hawkesbay areas respectively, were successfully put out, fire fighters despite a lapse of nine hours (till the filing of the story) were struggling to extinguish the one that broke out in a tyre factory in Gulbai.

At least 18 fire tenders were reported to have been sent off to the factory, given the intensity of the blaze, fire fighters later called in for assistance from all around the city also could not put the fire out. 

Fifteen people were said to have been present in the tyre factory at the time of the fire, however, all of them had rushed to the rooftop from where they were rescued through snorkels provided by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).

A large quantity of medicines perished in the fire that erupted in the factory situated in Hawkesbay while a loss of millions of rupees was reported from a chemical factory that caught fire in SITE, near Ghani Chowrangi.

While the causes of fire at any of the factories were yet to be ascertained by the central fire station, owners of the medicine factory were quick to blame it on a short circuit.

However, according to the fire station officials, gas pipeline leakages were the reason behind recurrent fires, but the exact cause of the blaze could not be confirmed.

CM takes notice

Taking notice of the incident Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah directed the city commissioner to use all means possible to control the fires.

Commissioner Karachi Ejaz Ahmed Khan later initiated an inquiry into the three incidents, claiming that reports regarding the fires would soon be sent to the CM.

 Khan further claimed that the concerned district commissioners were monitoring the situation.

According to official sources in the KMC, the port city required at least 300 fire tenders. Help was sought from the Pakistan Air Force and Navy departments as the KMC did not have the capacity to tackle such huge fires.

Senior director of the KMC’s municipal office Masood Alam claimed the civic body only had 34 fire tenders which were insufficient for dealing with fires of this intensity.

“The fire tenders usually remain out of order and there is only one snorkel with the KMC. The organisation is facing a serious shortage of funds,” he added. 

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