Go[ing]-down: Two floors of go-down as the Sopariwala building reduced to ashes

The unstable staircase and limestone structure gave the firefighters a hard time.

Express August 26, 2011

KARACHI: A huge fire spread through a pre-Partition building in front of the old CID building at Shahrah-e-Iraq. No casualties or injuries were reported.

Witnesses claim that they saw a fire erupt from the West Point Appliances Go-down on the ground floor of the Sopariwala building at around 10:30 am. They added that they saw dense smoke coming out of the go-down. The fire was presumably caused by a short circuit and spread rapidly from the ground floor to the second and third floors.

The fire brigade reached the building soon after and tried to extinguish the blaze. However, the woodwork, unstable staircase and limestone structure gave them a hard time.

Home appliances stocked inside the go-down owned by Shakir Abu Bakar were burnt to ashes while, warehouses situated near the Sopariwala building were partially affected by the fire.

Two apartments on the first floor were completely ruined. A firefighter claimed that the fire spread because of the wooden ceilings.

“I was at work when I received a call from my neighbours who told me that my flat was on fire,” said Muhammad Akram, who lived in apartment No. 22. “When I reached home, there was nothing left but thankfully my family members were safe.” He added that the fire brigade could have saved his apartment but they did not manage the situation properly and now they were only left with the clothes on their backs.

Witnesses claim that a fire truck arrived half an hour after the fire started whereas the other one arrived half an hour after the first one left.

A fire brigade official told The Express Tribune that they used two water bowsers and 20 fire trucks. One bowser is equal to eight fire trucks.

While the fire brigade was at work, a cleric from the Minawa Mosque told them to stop spraying water as it was creating a nuisance for the people arriving to pray. The firefighters paused momentarily and then their supervisor told them to carry on and ignore the cleric.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th,  2011.