Fire engulfs another Karachi market

| Traders cast their suspicion regarding a coordinated move behind successive fire incidents

KARACHI - Another market in Karachi caught fire on Wednesday, causing loss of millions of rupees to business community, the second such incident in a week just meters away from the last site.
According to the KMC fire department, they were informed regarding the fire at around 12:00 noon on the fifth floor of the Victoria Shopping Centre at Abdullah Haroon Road in Saddar, the main hub of business activity in the city. Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab shared that fire tenders and snorkel was being used to douse the fire at the shopping centre.     
“14 fire engines and a snorkel fire truck battled to the blaze hours after it was first reported,” a fire official said, adding that they were able to douse the fire, and the cooling process was underway.
The official shared the fire began at the top floor and the blaze spread through the closed cloth market, making it difficult for the fire tenders to initially engulf the fire.
“Many shops were not opened when the incident occurred and the firefighters had to cut the locks at the shops to douse the fire shop by shop and godown by godown in the building,” he said, adding that even staircase was dumped with cloth pieces, making it difficult for them to douse the fire initially and move from floor to floor. The law enforcement authorities also rushed to the incident site and blocked roads leading to it besides also helping in evacuating people from the nearby buildings.
Sources in the fire department said that such incidents could happen again owing to the lack of proper facilities to extinguish the fire and improper electric wiring at the multiple shopping centres in old areas of Saddar.
Meanwhile, traders have cast their suspicion regarding a coordinated move behind successive fire incidents. “How it is possible that every time these fire incidents occur on Sunday or before the opening of the shops,” a shopkeeper who had an outlet at an adjacent Zainab market said. One after another incidents and their timings have raised serious questions on it as he demanded of the government to thoroughly probe the matter and arrest the culprits who are either found of negligence or intentionally involved in it.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chief Naeemur Rehman also conveyed similar concerns and demanded of the Sindh government to launch a probe into the multiple incidents of the inferno at markets in Karachi.
The JI leader said that a thorough probe into incidents was a must as it could be episodes of a designed conspiracy against the trade and industry sector of Karachi.
He urged the Sindh government to upgrade the emergency response mechanism of the concerned departments.
Referring to the incidents of Victoria and Cooperative markets, the JI leader said that unfortunately, the concerned departments were lacking both efficiency and equipment when it came to the timely and effective response.   

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