A warehouse of a garment factory in Landhi Industrial Area caught fire on Saturday. However, firefighters were successfully able to rescue all those who were caught in the fire.
The fire broke out at around 2pm and fire brigade officials claim that two fire tenders were immediately dispatched to the site. "After dispatching the two fire tenders, within minutes, we dispatched six more, and after that fire tenders from all over the city were called to the site," said Muhammad Qadeer, an official of the fire brigade department.
The fire broke out at the warehouse situated on the third floor of the factory. A number of workers - both male and female - were present at the factory at the time. The workers on the floors below the third remained safe and were able to evacuate the building themselves. However, a few of the workers who were at the warehouse were caught in the fire and had to be rescued.
Due to the unavailability of a snorkel - a hydraulic platform used to fight fires that break out above ground level - the fire was able to spread over the entire 2,000-squareyard third floor. "The fire tenders reached the site on time but since there were no fire snorkels available, it took at least an hour and a half for the firefighters to put out the fire," said a factory official, Zain.
As the fire broke out during a prayer break, there were not many people inside the warehouse at the time and those that were present do not know how the fire broke out. "We became aware of the fire when we were returning after praying," said factory worker Kashif. "The watchman was shouting and informing everyone about the fire"
Ziad Bashir, the executive director of the textile factory, where the fire broke out, ruled out the possibility of a criminal act and said the fire broke out accidently. "It was a warehouse. The fire damaged goods but thankfully, there was no loss of human life," he said. Bashir appreciated the role of the fire brigade officials as well as of the industrialists in the area for their help in controlling the fire and added that no one was trapped in the fire and that all of the employees were rescued on time.
The police also reached the site to help with the rescue operation. The law enforcers had to perform crowd control duties as a large number of people had gathered around the building and were getting in the way of the firefighters.
Quaidabad SHO Amanullah Marwat said that, at the moment, there seems to be no need of an FIR as the fire is thought to be accidental but claimed that this may change depending on the findings of the inquiry. "We will lodge an FIR if criminal involvement is found during the inquiry," said SHO Marwat.
The fire was declared as a 'third degree' fire but firefighters were able to control it after two hours. However, the cooling process is still going on.
"We controlled the fire and stopped it from spreading to other parts of the factory," a firefighter, Fareeduddin, told The Express Tribune. "It will take time for the fire to extinguish completely." Fareeduddin added that the actual cause of the fire has yet to be ascertained but it is suspected that it was caused by a short-circuit.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.