Sunday June 04, 2023

Eight hurt as Category III fire destroys chemical warehouse

January 10, 2021

As many as eight people were injured on Saturday after a Category III fire broke out at a chemical warehouse of a factory in the SITE area of Karachi.

It was at around 9:15am in the morning when the fire erupted at the multi-storey factory located in the Haroonabad area of SITE. Reacting to the information, the fire brigade immediately despatched fire tenders to the site, however, due to the severe intensity of the blaze, more fire tenders were sent to participate in the extinguishing work.

Heavy clouds of black smoke billowing out of the factory could be seen from far away. Fortunately, no death was reported and many employees, including women, trapped on the roof were rescued through a ladder.

At least eight people sustained injuries as they attempted to escape from the burning factory. They were shifted to the burns ward of the Civil Hospital, Karachi and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

A heavy contingent of law enforcers, including police and the Rangers, also reached the site and cordoned off the area.

According to a spokesperson for the fire brigade department, the fire broke out at around 9:15am and firefighters controlled the blazes after hectic efforts of around four hours. Around 10 fire tenders from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Pakistan Navy and Karachi Port Trust took part in the extinguishing work.

The cause of the fire and losses incurred in the incident are yet to be ascertained.

Panic and fear also gripped the locality after chemical drums in the warehouse continued to explode due to the intense fire. The fire quickly spread to the first and second floors of the factory and badly damaged them.

Workers at the factory said the fire suddenly broke out at the warehouse. They added that initially, workers themselves attempted to put out the blaze but as they could not succeed, they informed the fire brigade about it. Police said the three-storey building had been badly damaged in the incident a case would be registered if the factory administration was found guilty during the investigations.

They added that the condition of the eight injured men was out of danger, as per doctors.

An emergency was also declared by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to overcome the shortage of the water during the extinguishing work. The KWSB despatched several water tankers to the site to help the firefighters.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the incident and directed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Administrator Laeeq Ahmed to ensure that the fire was put out immediately and there was no loss of human life.

The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) appealed to the residents of the nearby areas to wear masks and have water bottles with them due to the fire and explosions at the chemical warehouse.

Karachi Commissioner Naveed Shaikh also visited the factory and monitored the extinguishing work and rescue operation. He was accompanied by Keamari Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mukhtar Abro.

The commissioner directed the Keamari DC to conduct an inquiry and submit a report to him.

Firefighters lauded

The KMC administrator also visited the factory where he said the KMC fire brigade department’s performance would be enhanced further due to the induction of 50 new fire tenders in its fleet, adds our correspondent.

He said the new fire tenders would be parked in the industrial zones as well as the KMC fire stations so that they could reach fire sites on time. He also praised the fire brigade for dousing the flames at the factory.

The administrator was of the view that the fire brigade, despite its limited resources, tried to save human lives in case of any fire. He said the department would be provided modern equipment and kits so that the firefighters could perform their responsibilities effectively.

Ahmed stated that the fire brigade department had extinguish the fire by using 12 fire tenders and a snorkel. He said he was feeling grateful that no causality was reported in the incident.

The administrator explained that more than 2,000 fire cases were reported in the city in 2020 and the KMC fire brigade did great job in saving lives in those incidents.

He also promised that the issues pertaining to the fire brigade employees would be resolved.

He visited the factory and directed the officials concerned to remain on the site till the cooling process had finished.

Ahmed also said that city wardens were being trained to assist the fire brigade.

Shop gutted by fire

A fire destroyed a shop of sewing machines in the Jubilee Market on the night between Friday and Saturday.

According to a spokesperson for the fire brigade department, one fire tender was immediately dispatched to the scene to put out the blaze.

The shop is located on the ground floor of a multi-storey residential building, and the fire engulfed the mezzanine floor.

No loss of life was reported. The fire broke out apparently due to a short circuit, he added.

He, however, said the fire caused a loss of millions of rupees and an investigation was underway to ascertain its actual cause.