LAHORE: Valuables worth millions of rupees were destroyed when a gas cylinder exploded on Sunday evening in an LPG shop, triggering a series of blasts which completely gutted a makeshift furniture market in Haji Chowk area of Johar Town.
Eye-witnesses said the fire broke out when a cylinder exploded in an LPG shop. A van had stopped outside the shop and the shopkeeper was busy in refilling a cylinder when it exploded. The shop caught fire which quickly reached other cylinders, thus causing a series of blasts in the shop. A rescue official said the cause of the fire would be ascertained after investigations. However, the eye-witness accounts, calls at Rescue 1122 and nature of the fire showed that its origin was the LPG shop. Shells of LPG cylinders spread all over the area after the blasts.
Huge explosions caused panic in the locality as law enforcement agencies rushed to the site on information. One after the other, the series of blasts spread fear and confusion among the people who were still trying to figure out what had happened. Nearby people, police and rescue teams rushed to the site. Meanwhile, the fire spread to nearby make-shift shops. Most of these shops were under the open sky.
The area where the fire erupted is surrounded by residential flats and marriage halls. Thick plumes of smoke billowed from the make-shift shops spread over an area of up to five kanals.
Meanwhile, five members of a family including four children and their mother were injured in an incident of fire in a house in Faisal Town on Sunday morning.
The fire broke out early in the morning around 6:00 am. A member of the family noticed smoke billowing from the drawing room of the house. He immediately alerted other members. They tried to control it by sprinkling water but the fire quickly spread to the other parts of the home as well. They called Rescue 1122. Nearby people rushed to help them evacuate the house. The victim family alleged that rescue teams reached late otherwise the losses could have been contained.
The injured were identified as Qaim Ali, 8, Muhammad Hussain, 1, Noor Fatima, 16, Ali Raza, 12, and their mother Parveen. They were admitted to Lahore Jinnah Hospital where their condition was stated to be stable. However, valuables inside their house were completely destroyed.
Goods worth millions of rupees were also reduced to ashes in different parts of the city in separate fire incidents. A fire broke out in a house on Amir Road, Jamal Mustafa. Residents of the house called rescue teams. Fire-fighters reached the site on information and put out the blaze. Similarly, a fire also broke out in a house on Multan Road, Hanjarwal and a wood warehouse near Haji Camp in Naulakha.
A fire also broke out in empty compartments of train in Kot Lakhpat. Rescue teams reached the spot on information and extinguished the blaze. No loss of life or injury was reported in the incidents.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2018.
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