KARACHI: Twenty shops were burnt in a fire at Ranchore Line.
Billowing clouds of smoke filled the narrow Sabzi lane where the Cosy Market is located as the fire spread from one shop to the other. The shopkeepers tried to douse the flames at first but the unbearable heat emanating from the fire pushed them back, forcing the shopkeepers to watch their merchandise burn. Meanwhile, crowds of children and women panicked when they saw the fire and in their rush to get out caused a mild stampede.
Movement in the lane is already constricted due to the roadside vendors lined on both sides of the street and after the fire, complete chaos ensued. By the time two fire tenders arrived at 10:35 am, the fire had intensified and engulfed around 20 shops. An hour and a half’s struggle later, the flames were doused and other shops in the market were saved from damage. Dresses, lipsticks, toys, hairbrushes, pots, pans and a multitude of other merchandise were destroyed in the fire.
The fire was started by shortcircuit, said the firefighters. The exact worth of the assets destroyed cannot be determined immediately, but the losses are estimated to be around Rs10 million, they said. Following the fire brigades, the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) trucks also arrived to cut off the electricity connection so that rescue work could continue. However, the power supply was not resumed till the filing of this report. Angry residents crowded outside their houses and shouted slogans against KESC.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 27th, 2010.