Bhindara Centre inferno

Express April 15, 2010

KARACHI: A short-circuit spark quickly turned into a destructive blaze that engulfed a three-storied plaza and reduced it to dirt along with 70 motorbikes and nearby houses.

Bhindara Centre in Icchra combusted for three hours as fire fighters and rescue teams approached the site after a 30 minute delay. It is estimated that 250 shops, 70 motorbikes and highly inflammable stock worth millions of rupees were reduced to ashes.

The plaza was charred beyond recognition and three men and one woman collapsed from the toxic fumes that covered the entire shopping Centre like a massive cloud. Shopkeepers and locals assisted rescue officials in extinguishing the fire while Ferozepur Road was completely blocked.

A large number of ambulances rushed to the market and quickly transported the injured to Services Hospital. Two Rescue 1122 workers and an Edhi volunteer were also injured during the rescue operation.

Chairman Bhindara Centre Haji Riaz Ahmed complained that fire fighters reached the area 30 minutes after the first phone call as the city government had blocked all intersections on the main road. He stated that the fire brigade had to drive all the way up and then back down the road before it could reach the plaza. Eyewitnesses recalled that the fire started in a small clothing stall and spread rapidly within minutes.