Satellite Town fire inquiry puts onus on Rescue 1122

Five women, including a would-be-bride died in the house fire


Imran Asghar February 10, 2019
PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

RAWALPINDI: The investigation report on the incident of fire at Satellite town last month has exposed the standard of the services of Rescue 1122.

A bride to be and four other women had died in the inferno at a house, as people blamed slow response from the rescue service for the casualties.

The women, identified as 24-year-old Sana Tariq, Hina, 14, Hifza, 20, Minahil, 25, and 22-year-old Naina lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.

Sana, the bride-to-be, was all set to get married on January 17. An inquiry committee was later formed following the directions of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar while the Deputy Commissioner Omar Jehangir appointed Additional Deputy Commissioner to probe into the incident.

The investigation officer recorded statements of all the parties involved in the incident including witnesses.

According to the report, the affected family claimed rescue workers did not arrive timely at the incident site while their fire tenders also ran short of water during the operation.

The family also claimed second fleet of fire brigades also arrived very late whereas the rescue workers were inefficient and inexperienced. The family claimed that the rescue workers were ill equipped as well.

Victims’ family ‘expose’ 1122’s shortcomings

The report declared the family claims as ‘legitimate’ as it was disclosed that the rescue workers were ill equipped. The rescue workers were missing oxygen cylinder, torch and ladder while the masks they were using were also unusable.

The report also says that the pipe length of fire tenders was short while there was no senior rescue officer present on the occasion.

The report disclosed that the District Emergency Officer Dr Abdul Rehman claimed during the investigation that the accusations made by the family were incorrect. He insisted during the investigation that 21 fire tenders along with 70 rescue workers were conducting the operation.

According to the Global Positioning System (GPS), only two fire tenders were present at the site of fire, contrary to the 21 fire tenders that were claimed by Rescue 1122. Also, there were only 2 fire brigades present at the site which were later recalled to the station, the report tells.

Some 70 workers were claimed to be present on the occasion including Dr Abdul Rehman whereas  it was revealed that he left at 1:30 pm.

The report remarked that the rescue workers tried to exaggerate their performance.

The father of the deceased to-be bride, Chaudhry Tariq said that the investigation report had proved their stance. He added that the results would be different if Rescue 1122 workers had performed their duty  to the full capacity.

He appealed the PM and Chief Justice of Pakistan to take strict action against Rescue 1122 to avoid any such mishap in the future.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2019.

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