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January 29, 2020

Factory fire death toll reaches 11

Lahore

January 29, 2020

LAHORE: Rescuers found 11 bodies and retrieved two survivors from the debris of a collapsed building in the Shahdara area here on Tuesday.

They found bodies and pulled out two survivors at the site of a two-storey perfume factory that collapsed after a cylinder blast and fire in the provincial metropolis in Imamia Colony, Shahdara. Four men, two women and five children lost their lives in the incident. The victims temporarily lived in the upper portion of the factory. The deceased were identified as Zahid, 60, s/o Fazal, Rashidan Bibi, 55, w/o Zahid, Musa, 9, s/o Nadir Khan, Areeba, 7, d/o Nadir Khan, Naveed, 14, Abid (factory owner), 45, s/o Boota, unidentified woman, 25, unidentified boy, 12 unidentified male (crushed body), 45, unidentified man, 35 and unidentified boy, 14.

The survivors included Zahid, 30, son of Abdul Majeed, and Junaid, 21, son of Akram. Two injured were admitted to Mayo Hospital. A couple and their two children including Zahid, his wife Rashidan Bibi and two children Areeba and Musa were recovered dead.

The incident took place in one of the areas’ many alleyways, tangled in electric wire and too narrow for vehicles to access, authorities at the scene said. Over 72 rescuers worked overnight at the site where the factory building collapsed. An ear-deafening explosion created panic in the area as people living nearby came out of their houses to witness what had happened.

More than 72 rescuers and 23 emergency vehicles were involved in the rescue effort and they were facing enormous challenges. The difficulty the rescuers were facing was rain and the debris which turned up a considerable amount of land.

Shahdara rescue station responded in eight minutes and reached the spot. 10-Marla building portion of the factory caught a fire followed by a cylinder blast and due to this cylinder blast same portion collapsed. The adjacent buildings were also affected by the incident. Ground floor used for production and the upper portion was occupied by the employees for residential purpose.

Teams of Rescue Lahore and Sheikhupura participated in this rescue operation. Specialized Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team led this fire & rescue operation dedicated for this type of Rescue operations. Rescuers utilised latest equipment in this operation like Thermal Image cam, hydraulic Iron, concrete cutter, hydraulic drills, and combing tools.

The bodies and survivors trapped under debris were taken out by rescuers, cutting through iron beams and cleared debris using hydraulic cutters and cranes. Rescuers said it had taken more than 15 hours to clear most of debris as the lane where the collapse occurred was too narrow for rescue vehicles. Most of the equipment was carried by hand and the rescuers also formed a human chain to remove debris.

The number of dead was expected to rise as rescue workers comb through affected building. Torrential rain hampered rescue efforts as over 70 Rescuers along with 23 emergency vehicles participated in this fire & rescue operation. The rescuers faced difficulties in clearing huge piles of debris. Torrential rains created a torrent of mud in the debris surging through the factory premises.

Punjab chief minister took notice of the incident and directed action against those responsible for the incident.

Edhi Ambulance Service dispatched bodies of Zahid Hussain, Rashidan Bibi, Musa and Areeba to their native town. Similarly, the bodies of Jameel, Abid and Waheed, who happened to be real brothers, were transported to their native town in Shakar Garh.