LAHORE: A massive fire at an outlet of chain store in Gulberg on Tuesday gutted a huge stock of garments, electronics and other goods.

The dense black smoke followed by flames was so much alarming that many motorists and the residents living around faced issues of visibility and chest congestion.

Located at the Ghalib Road, the ChenOne store caught fire at around 2:45pm which later spread steadily due to the huge stock of flammable material including garments, perfume packs, furniture and other goods.

The staff of the store alerted the police as well as the Rescue 1122 as they witnessed dense smoke followed by some flames.

The entire staff immediately moved out of the building. Initially, three fire-extinguishing trucks were dispatched by the Rescue 1122.

Huge stock of garments and electronics gutted

However, five more vehicles were called on the spot on finding the fire getting out of control, an official of the Rescue 1122 told reporters.

He said the special crew and fire-fighting vehicles from the city district government also took part in the operation.

Some witnesses alleged that the fire spread fast when the Rescue staff handled the emergency unprofessionally.

They told media persons that the crew of the Rescue 1122 and the city district government first stationed the fire-extinguishing trucks at wrong side to launch operation.

Later, they also took sufficient time to initiate work, they said adding that the firefighters showered water on the irrelevant spots rather than targeting the main point of the blaze.

In the middle of the operation, they said, some employees of the store had pointed out flaws to the rescue staff.

On the reports of the intensity of the fire, the Rescue 1122 director general also reached the site to lead the operation.

The rescue workers denied allegations saying that they faced challenges of poor visibility in reaching the exact target of fire due to dense smoke. They said three fire-fighting vehicles launched operation from front side and two each from the left and back sides of the building to curtail the blaze.

Finally, they took five hours or so to control the fire in the centre which was housing huge stock of garments, crockery items, electronics and other goods.

Apparently, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained, a spokesperson for the Rescue 1122 said.

He said the premises of the store was handed over to the police for further investigation.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2019