Eight plunge to death as fire erupts at LDA plaza in Lahore

Malik Riaz announces Rs0.5m compensation for families of the deceased victims. Allegedly large number of records lost.

Web Desk May 09, 2013
Rescue workers try to save people trapped inside a burning building in central Lahore May 9, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: A fire erupted at the LDA plaza situated on Lahore’s Edgerton road killed eight persons, injured and trapped several others inside the building, reported Express News on Thursday.

The fire erupted around noon started on the 7th and 8th floor of the building and rapidly engulfed three more floors.

A man reportedly fell from the seventh floor of the 13-story building while escaping the fire and died on the spot. Similarly, two others jumped out in hope of escaping but later succumbed to injuries at the hospital.

The rescued persons were shifted to Ganga Ram Hospital.

Rescue work was immediately underway at the site of the fire as five fire trucks were used to extinguish the fire. People continued to signal for rescue by waving from windows on the upper floors.

Due to wrongly parked cars outside the plaza, rescue teams faced difficulties in their operation. There was an apparent lack of required machinery for the operation according to Rescue 112 workers.

Helicopters were used in the rescue operation to evacuate people from the building.

Business tycoon, Malik Riaz announced Rs0.5m in compensation for families of the deceased victims.

No fire exit  in building

The building was devoid of any fire exits. The LDA  site states:
It strives to be an accountable and people-friendly principal planning and development vehicle of the Lahore Metropolis, aiming at providing and continuously improving metropolis-vide development works, facilities and services of acceptable standards to all without let or favour.

One of the basic functions of the organisation was to implement fire safety rules and laws on organisations who build high rise structures that they they plan buildings properly.

Records lost

Apart from the lives lost, some sensitive documents containing information regarding the alleged corruption of the organization have also reportedly been lost in the fire.

Among the documents reportedly stored in the building were records pertaining to the Metro Bus. Earlier, the NAB had reportedly asked the LDA to handover records regarding the mass transit project.

Reportedly, information regarding the corruption of LDA officials, worth Rs1.5 trillion, was also present in the building which is now destroyed.

However, DG LDA Dr Ejaz Munir said that "Financial records and other important records, or as alleged by some politicians, Metro bus’s records were not kept here. Only administrative records were kept at this office while records to which ‘people’ are alluding towards is kept at Johar Town office”.

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