The fire that broke out at the Sindh Secretariat building was extinguished after an hour-long rescue operation.
According to fire brigade officials, they received the information about the fire at 5:58pm and three fire tenders were dispatched. “The fire started from the sixth floor and spread through a duct, thereby reaching the first floor.
The fire has only damaged the side of the building on which the duct had been attached,” said a duty officer at the central fire brigade office. “No major losses were reported except for a few files and furniture,” he said.
According to reports, the fire damaged some files on the third and fourth floors of the building. Initial reports stated that some government employees were present when the fire erupted.
Rumours circulated that the fire was intentionally set to derail National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigations in inquiries against the food, works and services health, education and other departments.
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“It is coincidental that the fire erupted on a holiday,” said an official working in the secretariat, adding a suspicious fire in revenue department in 2008 had destroyed important land records and no one has yet been held responsible for it. “Old land allotment records of the Sindh Board of Revenue were reduced to ashes [in the 2008 fire].
It was also holiday when the revenue building caught fire and it too was termed an accident,” said the official, adding that last year a fire destroyed records of the information department following the inquiry against former minister Sharjeel Memon.
Though officials have not yet confirmed the cause of the fire, the Arambagh SHO told the media that the fire likely erupted due to a burning cigarette. However, other reports termed the cause of the fire a short-circuit.
“I have no idea [what caused the fire]. Let us investigate first,” Karachi Metropolitan Corporation Chief Fire officer Tehseen Siddiqui said.
The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) managing director imposed an emergency at all water hydrants, sending tankers to on the spot to help fire tenders