Shehla Raza’s office catches fire

Ten staffers were present in the building, but there was no loss of life

​ Our Correspondent September 14, 2019
Sindh Minister Shehla Raza. (PHOTO: APP/FILE)

KARACHI: A fire erupted in Sindh Minister for Women Development Shehla Raza's office in Sindh Secretariat building on Friday. The fire was put out after an hour's effort by the fire department. There was no loss of life but the blaze caused damage to documents, furniture and electronic devices in the office. The booth of the Women Complaint Cell Helpline 1094, which was inside the minister's office, also burned down.

Police and Rangers reached the site after receiving the complaint and alerted the fire department. Two fire tenders arrived but the flames could not be contained. Two more fire tenders were called and the extinguishing operation began.

According to the fire department, the complaint was received at 12.59pm and by 1.13pm, the department dispatched the first fire tender. Azfar Ahmed, an official of the fire department, said that Raza's office was located in an old building which had wooden planks covered with asphalt in the roof. "It's why the fire spread this quickly," he added.

Ten staffers of the department were in Raza's office, which is located in Barrack No 91 Block 4B of the Sindh Secretariat when the fire erupted. The roof of the barrack collapsed due to the fire. According to the officials present in the building, the fire broke out due to a short circuit in the air conditioner's (AC) wiring.

Raza also reached the office when she was informed about the fire. Speaking to the media, she said that she was attending a session on policy on gender and economics at a private hotel when she was informed about the fire. Raza said that 50 per cent of her staff was with her at the hotel while her principal secretary had left the office an hour earlier. "The fire hadn't erupted when she left the office," said Raza, adding that 10 of her staffers were in the building at the time. "However, the staff is all safe and that is what matters most."

Raza was informed that the fire erupted in her chamber and within 10 minutes, the flames had engulfed the entire office. She said that the relevant department would ascertain the cause, adding that the AC in her chamber had been out of order but was fixed at around 3 pm on Thursday. "Photocopies of some documents pertaining to the annual budget and legislation were in the office. No other important documents were there as official documents are kept in the Directorate and Secretariat."

Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2019.


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