Saturday July 20, 2024

Fire damages PID building, some employees slightly hurt

By Mobarik A Virk
October 25, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in the building of the Press Information Department (PID) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, causing damage to the building and there were initial reports of destruction of some official record as well.

This is the third time that a big fire has erupted in the buildings accommodating government offices. The largest fire recorded was back in 2002 when one of the tallest buildings of the federal capital, the Shaheed-e-Millat Secretariat, was completely gutted. The second incident happened when a big fire broke out in the Awami Markaz located on the Constitution Avenue, right opposite the complex of blocks of Pakistan Secretariat last year.

The fire started in the western wing of the building on ground floor where the Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications (DEMP) of the PID are located. The Emergency and Disaster Management (E&DM) Directorate of the Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) received the call at 1:18pm and the first fire tenders reached the spot at 1:22 pm, followed by another 14 vehicles including one Bronto Sky Lift.

Director E&DM Zafar Iqbal said timely action by the Islamabad fire department prevented the fire from spreading and at the same time rescued people stuck on the first to fifth floors of the building. “It was a well-coordinated operation with the other concerned departments including the Rescue 1122, Islamabad Police and Pakistan Navy, which ended successfully within 40 minutes time,” the E&DM director said.

Officials in the PID said that because of timely control of fire, no loss of life happened, but it reportedly damaged the press-related records and store at the building. The PID statement said that there were around 350-400 employees present in the building at the time the fire broke out. According to information provided by the PID some people present at the lower floors jumped out from the windows and received some injuries in rescue efforts.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry contradicted reports about burning of PID record. He said that a committee has been set up to ascertain the causes of fire at the PID.

He said the committee will be headed by Secretary Information Shafqat Jalil and will explore the incident from various angles. He said no human or material loss occurred in the incident and the record and archives of the PID are completely safe as fire could not reach those areas.He said the PID building is old and the government was already planning to shift it to some other place. Secretary Info Shafqat Jalil said it will be too early to predict about the cause of fire. Inquiry would be conducted to ascertain the real cause of the mishap.