Inferno: Two injured as fire erupts in Mansehra

Police say shop owner lit cigarette while cleaning pistols with flammable spray

Our Correspondent April 22, 2016

MANSEHRA: At least two people were injured in a fire that erupted after an explosion in a building near Punjab Chowk in Mansehra on Friday. An arms dealer’s shop inside the building was gutted.

Eyewitnesses told The Express Tribune, Ijaz, the owner of the shop, was inside the building at 11am when the incident occurred.

Niaz, an eyewitness, said he heard a piercing explosion and saw Ijaz plunge out of the shop and fall on a motorbike parked outside the shop.

“The motorbike was also burnt,” Niaz said. “The roof of the shop collapsed after the explosion.”

Ijaz and a passer-by Arshad Feroz were critically injured and rushed to King Abdullah Teaching Hospital. They were later shifted to Ayub Teaching Hospital. According to doctors, both patients had suffered more than 70% burn injuries.

Firefighters reached the site and extinguished the flames from a large number of adjoining shops. However, the shop – filled with rifles, shotguns, pistols and AK-47 rifles worth thousands of rupees – was destroyed.

Locals said the explosion was of a high intensity and was heard for many miles.

Although the cause of the fire has yet to be ascertained, the police believe the owner lit a cigarette while cleaning pistols with a flammable spray solution that caused the fire to erupt.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd,  2016.