KARACHI: A huge fire destroyed at least 100 huts in the Teen Hatti area along the Lyari Expressway while a tanker carrying thousands of litre oil caught fire at a fuel station in Saddar on Saturday.
However, no loss of life was reported in the two incidents, police and fire officials said.
In the first incident, the fire left a large number of people, including women and children, living along the Lyari river shelterless.
Chief Fire Officer Mubeen Ahmed said they received information about the fire at around 8.15am. Initially, three fire engines were sent from the nearby Nazimabad fire station. Later, realising the intensity of the fire, seven more fire engines were despatched, which managed to douse the fire.
He said the huts were built with cloths or tents and all the huts were connected with each other with piece of cloths. Therefore, when the fire erupted in one hut, it rapidly spread and engulfed 10-12 other huts, he said.
Another big tragedy averted as oil tanker fire at Saddar fuel station put out
The fire chief estimated that around 100 huts were destroyed.
He said the area residents immediately left the place and also save their children. They tried to save their utensils and other valuable.
He said that this was the second fire incident at the same place as a fire had also erupted there last year destroying 150 huts.
Oil tanker fire at fuel station
In the second incident that took place at around 11.15am, an oil tanker caught fire at a PSO petrol pump, opposite the Parking Plaza, near Saddar. Three employees of the fuel station suffered burn injuries, police and firemen said.
The chief fire officer said that as they had just extinguished an earlier fire erupted in huts at Teen Hatti on Saturday and fire machines had just arrived their stations, they received information about another fire at a petrol pump.
He said several fire engines, including one snorkel, were refilled with water immediately and brought from different fire stations in the metropolis to meet any eventuality. “The fire in oil works like a bomb and it is not easy to control it,” he said, adding that they used foam as the fire was sliding and had spread on the road and firemen put their life in danger to control it.
Brigade Police SHO Khaliq Rafiq said that the blaze erupted in the oil truck belonging to the PSO, which was delivering oil to the fuel station.
While the SHO said the fire had erupted due to a short circuit in the driver’s cabin, the fire chief said that it needed to be investigated.
The fire chief said the fire erupted in the tanker when it was transferring oil to an underground tank. He asked why the valve of the oil tank was not closed immediately.
There were fire extinguishers at the petrol pump, but they were not used to put out the fire. And when the fire broke out, the employees just ran away.
Delivery rules violation
Moreover, the fire chief said under the rules concerned and the policy of the government, oil trucks were supposed to deliver oil at fuel stations after the midnight. He asked as to why the PSO’s oil truck was delivering petrol in the daytime.
He described it as ‘negligence’ on the part of the quarters concerned.
The area SHO said the tank was filled with oil and estimated 21,000 litres of oil was burnt.
Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2021