KARACHI: Gadget-lovers held their breath – literally – after a fire broke out in the basement of the city’s largest market for computer accessories on Monday.
Six men and a woman fell unconscious as smoke filled the upper floors of Uni Plaza on I I Chundrigar Road. The fire broke out due to a short-circuit in the meters installed in the basement and the resulting smoke spread all the way to the shops and offices located on the upper floors.
The fire department immediately sent four engines and a snorkel that managed to control the blaze after struggling for an hour.
Edhi and Chhippa ambulances took the unconscious people to Civil hospital. Several people were evacuated from the building using the fire department’s ladders and snorkels. The fire caused a severe traffic jam on I I Chundrigar Road and adjoining streets.
Many of the shops suffered financial losses as most of the expensive material burnt down completely. The shopkeepers said, however, that it was too early to estimate the losses they have suffered.
There was panic in the area when the fire department was struggling to control the dlaze. People in the adjacent buildings decided to evacuate as a precaution.
City administrator Lala Fazlur Rehman paid a visit to Uni Plaza to inspect the pace of rescue efforts. He was accompanied by EDO Municipal Services Masood Alam and Chief Fire Officer Ehtishamuddin, who gave him a briefing.
The fire started at 10:30 am and no casualties were reported as the fire brigade reached on time. More than a 100 people, including 30 women, were rescued with the help of the snorkel.
The administrator also met the president of the building’s union and other officials. He appreciated the efforts of the city government’s employees.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2010.