Flames engulf garments factory

Fire teams were slow to respond, says factory owner

Our Correspondent May 31, 2021


A garments factory in the Gabol Town locality of New Karachi Industrial Area was gutted in a fire in the early hours of Sunday.

The North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry (NKATI) and the factory owner said that the fire department's response was slow which caused the flames to engulf the entire three-storey factory.

The fire brigade deployed at least 13 fire tenders to bring down the blaze after three hours of efforts. Initial reports suggest that an electrical short circuit caused the fire.

Millions of rupees worth of yarn, cloth, and hosiery, were reduced to ashes along with furniture, fixtures and equipment at the Al-Awwal Garments factory.

Chief Fire Officer Mobeen Ahmed told the media that fire engines were dispatched as soon as they knew of the incident. "When the association's president, Faisal Moiz, called me and told me about the severity of the blaze, I personally reached the site," he added.

The fire department spokesperson said they were alerted of the incident through social media at around 1.15am. Fire teams were dispatched and the flames were contained within two and a half hours, he said, adding that the cooling process continued for another three hours.

However, the factory owner told The Express Tribune that the fire broke out around 11pm and the first fire tender arrived an hour and a half later. He added fire equipment present in the factory was used while they waited for fire officials.

Similarly, Moiz said the fire tenders reached with a delay of 52 minutes. Yarn worth over Rs60 million, cloth and garments were gutted in the blaze, said Moiz, quoting the factory owner. Besides, machinery and equipment were also destroyed, he added.

Central District Deputy Commissioner MB Raja Dharejo said the factory was ablaze around 11.30pm and he was told of it by 11.45pm. It was a short circuit that sparked the fire, he said, adding that fire tenders were at the site within 20 minutes.

According to Ahmed, this was a third degree fire and tenders were sought from across the city. The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board declared an emergency and water hydrants were sought from Sakhi Hassan Water Pump. On Saturday, a fire gutted inventory and equipment at a paint factory in Mauripur area. Chemicals kept in barrels in the factory premises exacerbated the blaze, fire officials had said. No loss of life was reported.


Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2021.

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