Firemen struggle to control massive fire in Karachi textile factory

Published July 14, 2019
This file photo shows fire-fighters trying to control a blaze at a garment factory in Baldia.—AFP/File
This file photo shows fire-fighters trying to control a blaze at a garment factory in Baldia.—AFP/File

A massive fire broke out in a garment factory in Karachi's SITE area on Sunday morning which continued to burn into the evening as firemen struggled to reach the point of origin, officials said.

At 10pm, a Fire Brigade official said that “11 fire tenders were still busy trying to put out the fire" and that so far they had not received any information that the fire had come under control.

According to the officials, over one dozen fire tenders were put to use in an attempt to douse the fire with firemen facing immense inconvenience in reaching the place where the blaze had erupted due to a lack of proper access and the building being full of smoke.

A fireman from the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Fire Brigade said that they had received information about the fire inside the textile mill at around 9:54am on Sunday. Initially, a few fire tenders were sent to meet any eventuality but after realising the gravity of the problem, additional fire tenders were called from across the metropolis. Pakistan Navy’s fire tenders also joined in the efforts to control the blaze.

“As many as 12 fire tenders of the KMC, around 20-25 water bowsers of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) apart from two of the Navy’s fire tenders continued their efforts for several hours but till Sunday evening, the fire was not under control as flames continued to emerge from the godown where thick clothes were lying,” said the fireman.

The official added that the godown, which was located on the first floor of the two-storey building, was a huge one where ‘rejected’ clothes were kept in a haphazard manner. Moreover, there was no ‘proper way’ to enter the point of origin, hence they were facing difficulties in accessing it.

The deputy fire chief of the city, Imtiaz, while talking to media gathered on the spot confirmed that the fire has erupted on the first floor of the building, where a large number of clothes and machinery were stored.

The chief said that in order to reach the place of fire, they had to break the walls of the building at eight different points. Furthermore, since the affected building was filled with smoke, the firemen were facing difficulties in controlling it.

He said that at present, nothing can be said about the exact cause of fire and estimation of loss. However, there was no injury to human life as no one was present there at the time of the fire.

Pakistan Tehreek Insaf’s MPA from Sindh, Khurram Sher Zaman, also reached the site. While speaking to the media, he expressed regret that the firemen have no proper masks and were instead using cloth and surgical masks to cover and protect themselves.

The PTI legislator also lamented the lack of equipment to control the fire.

He said that the Karachi mayor has no financial resources and that the Sindh government was not providing funds to equip the firemen to meet such incidents.

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