Sunday, October 09, 2022
ISLAMABAD: A fire broke out in the food court of a popular shopping mall in Islamabad Sunday, but was quickly brought "under control" out as authorities scrambled to rescue.
The capital's chief commissioner said that the fire has been brought under control and the cooling process has been initiated after videos on social media platforms showed smoke emitting out of the building.
In a statement, Islamabad Police said that people were rescued and safely evacuated from the backdoor of the mall — which was engulfed in smoke after the fire.
The search operation is still underway, and no person or shop has been harmed, the police said, adding that the fire inside the mall has been doused out and a helicopter has also been called in.
"However, the fire has not been completely extinguished on the outside of the mall," the police said, requesting the citizens to avoid travelling near the mall to ensure that rescue teams could do their work uninterrupted.
To oversee the situation, Inspector-General Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir Khan, senior police officials, and district administration representatives reached the mall, located in F-8.
Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) capt (retd) Mohammed Usman Younas is also at the site and overseeing rescue and firefighting operations.
All resources are being utilised to control the fire as early as possible, the CDA added.
The Islamabad Police later said that the building, under the orders of the deputy commissioner, would be sealed once the rescue operation was completed.
It added that the mall's building would remain sealed until a probe into the matter has been carried out. Until then, entry into the building would remain prohibited to the public.
In a separate statement, the police said that due to the fire, diversions have been placed for traffic from F-8 Exchange Chowk to Khyaban Chowk at Jinnah Avenue.
In his tweet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that he was saddened by the incident and directed all authorities to ensure that the situation was brought under control at the earliest.
Taking notice of the incident, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah asked authorities to use everything at their disposal to ensure that the situation is under control.
Sanaullah, in a statement, said that the reason behind the fire should be ascertained and a detailed report submitted to the Interior Ministry.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz prayed for the situation to get better.
In the evening, Islamabad District Magistrate's Office issued a notification announcing the formation of a seven-member fact-finding committee to ascertain the cause of the fire.
The committee has been tasked to find out potential threats/factors that lead to the fire's spread and determine whether fire safety equipment and the fire safety alarm system inside the building were operational.
It will also review whether any mock exercise was conducted in the recent past by the management and also make sure the extent of the damage.
The committee has been provided three days to complete the tasks.
Islamabad's additional district magistrate will lead the committee, while it will have Sector I's assistant commissioner, Rawalpindi's district emergency officer, three officials from the CDA, and any other coopted official as members.