KARACHI: A huge fire that broke out in a plastic factory in the SITE industrial area on Sunday morning was brought under control after hectic efforts lasting several hours. No one was hurt in the fire.

Presence of chemicals and boiler and cylinders’ explosions inside the factory compounded the problems of firefighters trying to put out the blaze and prompted them to seek the help of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and the Pakistan Navy. The factory building was badly damaged in the fire.

SITE SP Asif Ahmed Bughio ruled out the possibility of any act of sabotage behind the incident. Speaking to Dawn, he said the factory made plastic chairs.

The SITE fire brigade official told Dawn that they had received information about the fire at about 9.14am on Sunday.

Initially, two fire engines were sent to extinguish the blaze, but the fire rapidly spread apparently owing to presence of plastic and chemicals in the factory.

Realising the gravity of the situation, the firefighters declared it a third-degree fire and called in more fire tenders from across the city to meet any eventuality.

Five more fire engines arrived. In the meantime, a boiler in the factory exploded. It prompted the KMC fire department to seek the help of the KPT and the Navy, who sent two fire engines.

Two bowsers and two snorkels were also brought in to fight the fire.

The firefighters managed to control the blaze after six hours of hectic efforts in which foam was also used. However, cooling work continued till late evening, said a SITE fire official.

The cause of the fire and estimation of losses could not be established immediately.

Talking to journalists on the occasion, fire brigade chief Tahseen Siddiqi said the fire spread rapidly because of explosions of a boiler and cylinders inside the factory. He said the blaze had badly damaged the factory building.

Meanwhile, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar visited the spot and supervised the firefighting work. Talking to reporters, he said the KMC’s fire department was facing shortage of vehicles.

The mayor regretted that they had requested the provincial government to provide vehicles, but to no avail.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2017