Fire breaks out at city’s largest computer gadget market

Published: July 13, 2010
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A shopkeeper is taken to safety from the basement of Uni Plaza where a fire broke out Monday morning. Six people fell unconscious but no one was hurt. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

A shopkeeper is taken to safety from the basement of Uni Plaza where a fire broke out Monday morning. Six people fell unconscious but no one was hurt. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

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.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Ali Haider
    Jul 13, 2010 - 5:49AM

    You have to see the condition of wiring in many buildings in Karachi to believe that how easily a short circuit can happen. The building owner save money and price is paid by common man. An investigation must be carried out and then forgotten. That’s our way of doing things. Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Jul 13, 2010 - 8:48AM

    Such incidents happen due to old wiring that never replace by the owners, occupants and caretakers.

    The Welfare Union collect heavy amount from the occupants under the head of “maintenance fee” but unfortunately no maintenance is done by the office bearers and members of the Welfare Associations.

    Uni Plaza is an old building and no one bother to replace the expired electrical wiring.

    Such a situation is not only restricted in Uni Plaza but all old buildings may face similar fate any time in the event of an electrical short circuit.

    I have written time and again in many newspapers that the authorities should take a note of such situation and ask the so called Welfare Associations to replace the expired electrical wriring, but no action has taken place as yet in any building in the city.

    Similar is the case of Gulf Shopping Mall, Cliff Shopping Mall and Metro Shopping Mall which are constructed next to each other in Clifton area near three swords roundabout and are interconnected with each other from inside the buildings.

    There are no emergency exists in these shopping malls and the electrical wiring is in a very bad shape. God forbid, if a similr situation will arise in the above-mentioned shopping malls, there is a possibility that number of people may die in stampede and due to panic and choas.

    Unless some thing big happens similar to Uni Plaza case, where electrical wiring is burnt in addition to the stuff, no body will think to replace the old electrical wiring. This is the height of illitracy, intentional neglect and selfishness.

    May Al-Mighty Allah give wisdom to such people who not only take the risk of their lives but the level of their incompetenace extend upto such a level which endanger the lives of many other people working in these shooping malls as well as of those who come to these places for shopping.Recommend

  • YASIR
    Jul 15, 2010 - 1:46AM

    on behalf of this story i can say that Munawar Khan is best and senior reporter in EXPRESS MEDIA GROUP.
    I AGREE WITH Ali Haider.Recommend

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