ISLAMABAD, Sept 14: A big fire in Blue Area on Friday afternoon ignited fear of Karachi and Lahore infernos among the citizens, but luckily it caused no loss of life, just material damage.
Before that a smaller fire had partially gutted a printing press in a different section of the Blue Area.
A truck driver, who suffered minor burns, was the only casualty reported in the bigger fire. The cost of the vehicles and split air conditioners burnt, and other damage caused by the bigger fire was estimated in millions.
Fire engines reached the spot quickly and put out the fire. “We took just 15 minutes to extinguish the fire,” fireman Mohammad Ozair told Dawn. But television images of the thick smoke rising from the burning vehicles kept viewers fearing worst much longer.
Rescue workers, concerned traders and mediapersons occasionally engaged in emotional outbursts during the rescue operation.
Most witnesses traced the fire to the fuel oil that was being pumped to the rooftop of an office plaza for the emergency generator of the Warid cellular company located in the plaza.
But the cause was not immediately established and the interior ministry has ordered the deputy commissioner of Islamabad to hold a judicial inquiry for the purpose.
Traders at the spot said inflammable oil leaked during the process of pumping it to the top from the mini-truck of the driver parked on the backside of the plaza. The oil fell on the ground and also drenched the wall where split air conditioners were installed.
Somehow, and somewhere on its way down, the leaking oil caught fire. It became a scary fire when it reached the mini-truck and two other vehicles on the ground.
Flames were seen racing upwards on the plaza’s back wall and the bursting tyres of the vehicles on fire spread the scare that CNG tanks of vehicles parked in the area were exploding, a trader said.
An official of the All Traders Welfare Association of Blue Area, Tariq Mehmood, claimed to Dawn that the association had conveyed its concerns about the practice of pumping oil to the rooftop to the Warid management and the Capital Development Authority but both ignored them.