Eight plunge to death as fire erupts at LDA plaza in Lahore

Published: May 9, 2013

Rescue workers try to save people trapped inside a burning building in central Lahore May 9, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

Two men wait to be saved from a burning building in central Lahore May 9, 2013. Fire erupted on the seventh floor of the LDA plaza in Lahore. PHOTO: REUTERS Rescue workers try to save people trapped inside a burning building in central Lahore May 9, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS A fire fighter tries to extinguish the blazing fire. SCREENGRAB: EXPRESS NEWS A screengrab shows a person being rescued by a helicopter. SCREENGRAB: EXPRESS NEWS A screen grab shows smoke due to the fire at the plaza. SCREENGRAB: EXPRESS NEWS

LAHORE: A fire erupted at the LDA plaza situated on Lahore’s Edgerton road killed eight persons, injured and trapped several others inside the building, reported Express News on Thursday.

The fire erupted around noon started on the 7th and 8th floor of the building and rapidly engulfed three more floors.

A man reportedly fell from the seventh floor of the 13-story building while escaping the fire and died on the spot. Similarly, two others jumped out in hope of escaping but later succumbed to injuries at the hospital.

The rescued persons were shifted to Ganga Ram Hospital.

Rescue work was immediately underway at the site of the fire as five fire trucks were used to extinguish the fire. People continued to signal for rescue by waving from windows on the upper floors.

Due to wrongly parked cars outside the plaza, rescue teams faced difficulties in their operation. There was an apparent lack of required machinery for the operation according to Rescue 112 workers.

Helicopters were used in the rescue operation to evacuate people from the building.

Business tycoon, Malik Riaz announced Rs0.5m in compensation for families of the deceased victims.

No fire exit  in building

The building was devoid of any fire exits. The LDA  site states:

It strives to be an accountable and people-friendly principal planning and development vehicle of the Lahore Metropolis, aiming at providing and continuously improving metropolis-vide development works, facilities and services of acceptable standards to all without let or favour.

One of the basic functions of the organisation was to implement fire safety rules and laws on organisations who build high rise structures that they they plan buildings properly.

Records lost

Apart from the lives lost, some sensitive documents containing information regarding the alleged corruption of the organization have also reportedly been lost in the fire.

Among the documents reportedly stored in the building were records pertaining to the Metro Bus. Earlier, the NAB had reportedly asked the LDA to handover records regarding the mass transit project.

Reportedly, information regarding the corruption of LDA officials, worth Rs1.5 trillion, was also present in the building which is now destroyed.

However, DG LDA Dr Ejaz Munir said that “Financial records and other important records, or as alleged by some politicians, Metro bus’s records were not kept here. Only administrative records were kept at this office while records to which ‘people’ are alluding towards is kept at Johar Town office”.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Salman
    May 9, 2013 - 2:33PM

    May Allah have mercy on these people

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  • Riz
    May 9, 2013 - 2:47PM

    LDA plaza is in front of my office, saw that person jumped off due to the intensity of fire. Tragic to watch

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  • waseem sarwar
    May 9, 2013 - 3:10PM

    so sad. stay safe everyone.

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  • Ali Tipu
    May 9, 2013 - 3:39PM

    I think this is one of so many incidents happened over the past few years in Lahore that I have lost count of it. Seriously, i hate to bring politics into this tragedy, but can someone with an iota of humanity and logic tell me that those who claimed to turn Lahore into Paris are not responsible for the tragic loss of precious human lives in all those incidents? Can we not look into our departments and emergency services whether they are working properly or not?

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  • Shocking
    May 9, 2013 - 3:40PM

    Was heart wrenching to watch those people fall! May Allah bless their souls Ameen.. :(

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  • Farhan
    May 9, 2013 - 4:13PM

    I spent 25 years of my life in Lahore and can’t remeber having seen a single building with properly planned emergency exits. Architects and owners of these buildings must be held accountable for such tragically avoidable loss of precious life. Human life has become the cheapest commodity in this land of pure.

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  • Baba Ji
    May 9, 2013 - 4:16PM

    People jumping out of the building and “tamaashbeen” qoum just watching …. In the most modern city of Pakistan !!!! some rescue … some safety … some common sense !!!

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  • Unfortunate
    May 9, 2013 - 4:21PM

    My only concern is that if they are not equipped with the fire birgades for upper stories than why not they implicate the common method of using NET so the ppl can easily jump and save their lifes of instead of jumping blindly on the floor.

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  • Qasim
    May 9, 2013 - 4:24PM

    I can see the fire still not under control in LDA Plaza
    Its seems that the equipment for fire fighting is not enough. Big smokes and fire can be seen coming from 12 and 13th floor.

    It is highly doubted that there might be several people stuck on these floors.

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  • Sameer Mohyuddin
    May 9, 2013 - 4:28PM

    Who cares about human lives, atleast we have our Metro bus now on the roads.

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  • syed Irtaza Arif
    May 9, 2013 - 4:34PM

    well, how ironic. In 2009 i was passing by LDP Plaza and fire went on same floor. And can you believe it!! it was May 09, 2009. I took photographs and today when checked those old snaps, really shocked at this aweful conincidence. Has it something to do with May,09??

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  • Imran Rasheed
    May 9, 2013 - 4:51PM

    Why there’s no acitve Civil Defence Dept. to Save peoples life.. There’s no HSE ( Health Safety Environment) Policy in all over Pakistan, a Country of 180+ Million.

    The building is of a Construction Company operated by Government itself, and there’s no Fire and Safety Exits to survive in conditions like this.

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  • May 9, 2013 - 5:09PM

    it was a really sad moment in Lahore how those people jumped outside the building..!

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  • Shakir Lakhani
    May 9, 2013 - 7:22PM

    This is what happens when safety measures are not taken when constructing high-rise buildings. Because it will mean loss of income to vested interests, inferior electric wiring is used and there is usually one exit (instead of three). You can’t do anything about it now, but at least in under-construction buildings, the government should ensure that there are fire-escapes and exits as well as fire-fighting equipment on each floor of a multi-storeyed building.

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  • Adnan
    May 9, 2013 - 7:36PM

    Working in UK, fire drills and fire alarm test are routinely done. At least once a year a complete fire drill is done and fire marshals take all the people under their responsibility to evacuation area. All the people including the chief executives of the company take part in these drills and try to learn what to do in case of fire and emergency. However people like me, the desi people always think that these are waste of time. Since childhood our mindset is not developed as to how to tackle emergency situations, how to not only save yourself but others in emergency situations. We always consider these trainings as waste of time and energy.
    Always blaming others like in this fire brigade and emergency services is not the solution. The solution is to take responsibility our self, get our self train in emergencies services like fire rescue, CPR etc so we can save lives.

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  • Imran
    May 9, 2013 - 8:38PM

    A very sad incident OR perhaps a move to destroy the records that were requested by NAB and other investigative institutions. You never know what exactly is the cause.

    I am surprised to see a news which said that cause of fire was short circuit. Initially some news channels said that it happened due to some power generator.

    Before any investigation our news channels concluded that the reason for fire is this or that.
    Sounds fishy to me.

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  • Imran
    May 9, 2013 - 8:47PM

    Here 8 lives perished like anything and nobody took any notice. No statement from PM, CM or any other minister. But on the other hand when Gilani’s son is kidpnapped everybody takes notice and makes calls and passes statements.

    We as Pakistanis must note these peoples and parties and reject them on 11 May.

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  • fishy
    May 9, 2013 - 9:20PM

    someone trying to destroy record before next government comes…..vow…very fishy….

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  • Sam I Am
    May 9, 2013 - 9:40PM

    What a tragic day for Lahore. Very sad at loss of innocent lives. It all seems fishy, LDA records being burnt so close to elections.

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  • anwar
    May 9, 2013 - 9:57PM

    Who really is the Law?
    Ask anyone passing in front of your house or office one simple question: Who owns this road and you will get a quite a few answers, varying from Police, Army, LDA, WASA, RICH PEOPLE and NLC. The best answer is really a question: Why do you ask? It’s not wise to let them know why you ask because the answer is always the same. “Do you think you know more than us?” Unfortunately we don’t know anything because we are not gentry in the know. Take the recent fire at LDA building and the death of 800 plus people in Bangladesh as a result of massive (vibrating) old generators planted on the roof of the building. At first these two events don’t seem to be related but they are. LDA approves all building plans in Lahore including Add-ons like antennas. With this knowledge I wrote an application requesting LDA to send notices to cell phone that place generators on buildings to replace them with solar panels (which don’t vibrate). I suppose the application now must be quite wet as a result of the fire. I therefore request the cell phone companies themself to voluntarily replace the dangerous generators with solar panels. This would be financially beneficial in the long run anyway and it’s about time they spent from their budging cancerous coffers of cash for a safety issue of public concern.
    10.5.13

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  • numbersnumbers
    May 9, 2013 - 11:25PM

    The questions that need to be asked (but never resolved) after these incidents are very basic:
    1) Are/were new multiple story structures required to have dedicated fire escape stairwells, fire mains and hoses on each floor, and active sprinkler systems?
    If not, then please explain why not! If yes, then please explain how building plans are approved and monitored during construction! If yes, but somehow those items are “deleted” for cost savings during construction, then someone (owners, inspectors, construction bosses) needs to be doing a long prison stay for corruption and manslaughter!

    2) If the price of “after the fact” compensation is less than the cost of complying with the fire codes in the first place, then serious changes have to be made to the criminal code in dealing with willful negligence, otherwise this tragedy will be repeated over and over!

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  • Inqalb
    May 9, 2013 - 11:26PM

    1.3 trillion rupee corruption record was destroyed. I am 100% sure this fire was an arson. Enough is enough, we really need a red revolution in this country and now.

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  • rahim
    May 9, 2013 - 11:31PM

    I think so indian and pakistani leaders both are same when it comes to make the right policy for common people.Recommend

  • Saba
    May 10, 2013 - 12:41AM

    What rules and regulations is LDA going to implement if they themselves dont have fire exits and sprinklers in the building. What a shame. And disgusting how tv channels are showing trapped people jumping off of the building. We are totally insensitive and dehumanize people

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  • Nowas Sareif
    May 10, 2013 - 12:58AM

    Records burnt , who cares about people lives

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  • Mariam Javed
    May 10, 2013 - 2:06AM

    May Allah SWT give the families who have lost their loved ones Sabr and quickly and may those who were killed in the fire be granted Jannah In’Sha’Allah, Ameen!

    My condolences to the family and friends In’Sha’Allah!

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  • Kulwant Singh
    May 10, 2013 - 5:52AM

    No one cares about human life both in India and Pakistan that is why such incedant take place and no lesson is learned.There must be strict laws regarding fire safty in high rise buildings .

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  • Harris
    May 10, 2013 - 8:53AM

    What was that lone helicopter hovering for ? When we dont have equipment, why not call the army which boasts about the famous SSG Sling operation on national day parades. (where they come down the helicopter by ropes). where else do we need these operations ? in India ?

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  • Azhar
    May 10, 2013 - 3:16PM

    I was present at the unfortunate incident, where i saw helpless death, hundreds of forces were also present there even rescue trained workers just showing their efforts, many of died persons could be rescued if they try to rescue but unfortunately they were not doing so. Only helicopter rescued some persons from the roof. I shocked badly by this tragic incident. I saw many clips as in foreign but they fight until their last drop of blood but here, I am ashamed that I am between such Muslims.

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  • mzm
    Jun 21, 2013 - 6:59PM

    i saw the operation of the LDA PLAZA and on the spot many difficulties are arise such as the employees of the lda plaza are not trained to deal emergency and the other side the rescue department having shortage of latest equipment . but the struggle for the saving is also difficult

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