LAHORE, Dec 7: Five shops and two godowns were gutted and some others were damaged partially when a huge fire erupted in a three-storey building in Azam Cloth Market early on Friday.

Rescue 1122 and the police said the fire erupted at 3am in the Punjab Block building due to a short circuit which later spread and engulfed some shops in adjoining buildings.

The three-storey building (Punjab Block) was housing several shops and godowns of cloth, garments and sheets besides some offices.

Traders and their employees tried to extinguish the fire, but it spread due to huge stocks of garments.

Rescue 1122 fire brigade squad reached timely, but it took several hours to control the blaze. Firefighters found it hard to reach the destination due to narrow roads and streets which caused a huge loss to the traders.

A Rescue 1122 spokesman initially estimated a loss of Rs20 million to the traders.

The traders and rescuers said a spark in jumbled up wires might be one of the reasons for the blaze. Quoting a trader, they said the electricity wires attached to a transformer sparked and later fell on a shop.

Owners of two damaged shops Sheikh Liaquat and Muhammad Ali told the media they had complained to the Lesco authorities several times about the looming threats of sparking in the unmanaged electricity wires.

They said the Lesco officials visited the market several times, but the efforts to streamline the electricity system remained in official papers only.

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