Thursday Jun 02 2022

Karachi superstore fire rages even after a day

A huge fire that broke out in a supermarket located at Jail Chowrangi, Karachi — Twitter/@AnwerKh09156157
A huge fire that broke out in a supermarket located at Jail Chowrangi, Karachi — Twitter/@AnwerKh09156157 

KARACHI: A massive fire that broke out in a supermarket located at Jail Chowrangi on Wednesday afternoon could not be completely extinguished even after the passage of over 24 hours, Geo News reported on Thursday.

According to senior fire officer Arif Mansoori, there were flames in areas of the building and that smoke made it impossible to enter these buildings. However, 80% of the fire had been extinguished.

According to Chief Fire Officer Mubeen Ahmed, the store's basement was packed with merchandise. He stated that cooking oil, spray, and air fresheners were among the items for sale in the basement and that the fire in the basement of the building is not yet under control.

Ahmed stated that they are attempting to extinguish the fire with fireballs, provided by the administration, but they are not working.

However, Ahmed noted that the basement fire did not spread to the top floors.

Earlier this morning, Administrator Karachi Murtaza Wahab reached the site to monitor the operation of the fire incident at a superstore on Jail Chowrangi in District East.

Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) fire department and Rescue 1122 were also working to extinguish the fire.

The incident 

The fire broke out at 11am in the warehouse of the superstore situated on Jail Chowrangi — a very busy street — officials said. The superstore is situated in a multi-storey building and sees a lot of footfall every day. Thick smoke emanating from the fire engulfed the area, causing breathing problems for the people nearby.

As the fire broke out, a person who was rescued and shifted to a nearby hospital lost his life. Meanwhile, four people, including two firefighters, passed out.

However, despite continuous efforts and more than 18 fire brigades present at the site, the fire has not been doused.

According to fire brigade officials’ efforts are underway to stop the fire from spreading meanwhile, the process of controlling the fire will begin later.

Commenting on the reasons, they said that the firefighters are facing difficulty in extinguishing fire due to the high intensity of the smoke and lack of ventilation.

It is worth mentioning that along with fire brigades, fire tenders of the Pakistan Navy are also trying to control the fire.

Meanwhile, an emergency has been declared on water board hydrants to ensure water supply.

Eyewitnesses say that the superstore administration did not try to put out the fire through their own means, instead, they opted to exit the store and stand outside.

Fire officials also said that had the administration kept fire extinguishing equipment in-store, then the fire could have been controlled at an earlier stage.

Police officials said that the rescue workers have managed to evacuate all occupants of the residential building. Moreover, buildings around the supermarket building were also vacated.

Assistant commissioner Asma Batool said that the affected building has been declared at risk.

She said that attempts are being made to prevent any loss of life.

She stated that a request has been made for the nearby houses to be evacuated and residents are instructed to remove only necessities from their homes.

"Due to the amount of smoke in the structure, it is difficult to enter. Additionally, walls have been demolished to gain access to the impacted area,Once the fire is fully accessible, it will be contained," she stated.

It is currently unknown how long it will take to extinguish the fire.

The building's residents have filed a petition against the supermarket.

Orders to cordon off

In an administrative order from Deputy Commissioner East to SSP East, SBCA declares the affected building to be dangerous.

The order stated:

"the district administration and District Police are directed to cordon off the entire area to prevent the building from hurdles in fire foghting process as well as safety of general public."

It further stated that "no one except personnel/fire fighters be allowed to enter till clearance by relevant authorities/till further orders.

Traffic congestion in the area

According to the Traffic Police, Shaheed Millat Road, Kashmir Road, and Jail Road are closed from the Jail Road Bridge Intersection.

Traffic is being diverted to alternate routes, according to traffic police. Jail Bridge's closure has caused traffic congestion on Khalid Bin Waleed Road and University Road.

Traffic police are present to maintain the traffic flow.

The traffic police advised citizens to avoid Jail Road Bridge and instead take alternate routes.