A massive fire that broke out at Karachi’s biggest timber market in the early hours of Sunday, was extinguished by fire fighters after a rescue effort lasting over 12 hours. The fire caused billions of rupees losses to traders and others; however, no casualty was reported in the incident. According to witnesses, the fire initially broke out in a building, but it quickly spread over to nearby residential and commercial buildings.
The fire was rated as category three, which also engulfed nearby buildings of the densely populated locality of Old Haji Camp area.
Atique Mir, Chairman All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI), told Business Recorder that it was criminal negligence of Fire Brigade department as its ‘sluggish’ team reached the site after almost 70 percent of the timbers and other valuables were completely burnt by the fire.
He said that Fire Brigade department miserably failed to perform its duty effectively. He said that fire tenders reached the site three hours after the fire broke out.
“It does not have the capacity to fight even 20 percent of such untoward incident in the city. Had the department been active and fully equipped to deal with the situation, the traders of timber market would have not suffered billions of rupees losses today,” he lamented. The traders lost several commercial warehouses where timber was stored for the furniture manufacturing industry, he added.
Meanwhile, the Sindh government announced that it would compensate the losses of traders and residents caused by the fire.
Provincial Minister for Information Sharjeel Memon while addressing an emergency press conference at Commissioner’s House said that the Sindh government had constituted a committee comprising Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and Administrator Karachi Rauf Akhter to estimate the losses caused by the fire. The committee would submit its comprehensive report within a week. He further said that the government would provide relief to traders and residents by compensating their losses.
He said that 28 fire tenders took part in the operation to extinguish the fire.
He added that the fire was finally extinguished after 11 hours long efforts, however the cooling process took two to three hours. Officials suspected that the fire might have broken out due to electric short circuit.
Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain expressed grief and sorrow over the incident. MQM chief further said the provincial government had no such arrangements to extinguish the fire.
He advised the rulers to make public the contact numbers for rescue so that the pained and disconcerted people may lodge their complaints.
MQM leader Farooq Sattar visited the site and criticised the concerned authorities for their failure in timely extinguish the fire.
APP adds: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Sunday took notice of the eruption of fire in Timber Market of Karachi.
Expressing grief and sorrow over the tragedy, the Prime Minister asked the provincial government and relevant departments to take steps to avert recurrence of such tragedies in future at all costs.
SOURCE: APP/RECORDER REPORT