Explosions and flames leave fish harbour in frenzy

Inferno at the fisheries engulfs nine launches, two hotels, warehouses, cabin

Our Correspondent December 16, 2019

KARACHI: The fish harbour witnessed a fierce fire on Sunday night. Flames erupted in a restaurant at the fish harbour, which resulted in the explosion of a gas cylinder. Persons on site narrated that a fireball landed on a neighbouring scrap warehouse where drums of black oil exploded and the flames further intensified with the howling winds at sea. The inferno engulfed nine fishing launches, two restaurants, one mobile phone easy load cabin, a fishing net shack and a scrap warehouse. A complaint was received by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) fire brigade department at around 2:15am after ad hoc efforts of the fishermen failed to contain the fire. It was four hours and 13 fire tenders later that the fire was eventually brought under control. Fortunately, there was no loss of life reported.

Up in flames

According to Fishermen Cooperative Housing Society Security In-Charge Nasir Baneri, the fire erupted in Zirkhan Restaurant, located between spot number three and four at the fishing harbour. Speaking to The Express Tribune, he said that the fire spread to neighbouring cabins and warehouses and escalated with the explosions of the gas cylinder and black oil drums. He added that gusts of wind led to the nearby launches catching flames as well. Baneri said that the wooden launches were coated with grease and as a result, they were immediately engulfed by the flames. As efforts to extinguish the flames were underway, he said that there was a gas cylinder warehouse nearby, which was at risk of exploding if the flames reached there.

Karachi’s limited fire tenders scurry from site to site putting out flames

The security in-charge was of the view that the flames intensified due to the strong gale and the lack of water in the fire tenders sent by the authorities.

13 tenders, four hours later

Meanwhile, KMC fire brigade spokesperson said that they received information about the fire at around 2:15am. Earlier, he said, the people on site tried to contain the fire through ad hoc efforts and only called the fire department when the flames had intensified. He said that because the area falls under the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), assistance was sent through the KMC. According to him, it was after efforts of five KPT tenders, four of the Pakistan Navy, and four of KMC's fire tenders, which persisted for four hours, that the fire was contained. He said that the financial loss caused by the inferno could not be ascertained as of yet. However, millions of rupees worth of loss could be estimated, he added. The spokesperson confirmed that the incident rendered nine launches, two restaurants, an easy load cabin, and fishing net and scrap warehouses, to ashes. He appealed to the authorities to restrict the establishment of hotels and oil warehouses at the fishing harbour so that such losses can be avoided in the future.




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