KARACHI - At least one dozen ambulances were destroyed in a fire incident at an Edhi centre near Old Sabzi Mandi area on Wednesday.
The fire broke out at noon, which quickly engulfed and burnt the other ambulances parked at the Edhi Centre’s compound. An Edhi centre official alleged delay on part of the fire brigade department caused the massive damage.
According to a spokesman for Edhi Foundation, had the fire brigade rushed to the site on time, there would have been no heavy loss. He said 12 ambulances were completely destroyed while the remaining four were partially damaged in the fire. “This is our intercity transportation service centre,” the spokesperson explained. “All these ambulances were functional,” he added.
On receiving the information, fire fighters reached the site and started extinguishing the fire. A crowd of people also gathered at the site, creating difficulties for the fire fighters. Extra contingent of law enforcers reached the site and dispersed the people. The fire brigade officials refuted the charge and said the Edhi centre officials made an unnecessary delay in informing them. “All the destroyed vehicles were already non-functional,” claimed the fire brigade officials. They claimed 12 vehicles were damaged while the fire brigade succeeded in saving other 18 ambulances. Edhi Foundation is a non-profit organisation which provides social services like medical care, emergency services and training facilities for the disadvantaged.
The foundation is particularly known in Pakistan for its ambulance service. In 2000, Abdus Sattar Edhi was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for running the biggest private ambulance service in the world.
The reason for eruption of the fire could not be ascertained. Though the Edhi spokesperson said the potential criminal act could not be ruled out, the officials of the fire brigade and police believed the fire broke out accidently. DSP Nasir Lodhi said old substances like oil drums and bottles were lying in the compound; perhaps, someone threw a cigarette which caused the fire, damaging the vehicles, Lodhi added.