ISLAMABAD: A committee has been constituted to probe into a fire at Sabzi Mandi in which hundreds of stalls were gutted.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Irfan Nawaz Memon ordered the constitution of the fact-fading inquiry committee, comprising Additional District Magistrate, Administrator Market Committee, Assistant Commissioner Saddar, District Emergency Officer Rawalpindi and representatives of Islamabad police and the affected vendors.

A notification issued from the office of the DC said on March 3 at 1:10am the fire incident at I-11 Sabzi Mandi was reported. A fire brigade responded but hundreds of vending stalls were burned and damages were caused to edible oil and sugar inventories.

In order to ascertain the facts and factors that led to the fire and its subsequent spread, a fact-finding committee is constituted, it said, adding the terms of reference are to ascertain the cause of the fire and potential threats/facts that led to its spread, extent of the damage, recommend measures to prevent such incidents in the future, rehabilitation/future development of the area and any other finding/recommendation.

The fire broke out at the site of onion and potato stalls. Due to the thunderstorm at the time, the flames spread quickly and engulfed the entire area within minutes.

Over a dozen of fire engines were used to extinguish the fire but the strong wind hampered in the rescue works and the fire spread to adjacent and nearby areas, including stalls and plazas. It took hours to put out the fire after hundreds of stalls and shops were gutted.

It was suspected that some unknown persons had set garbage on fire there, officials said.

On April 30, the capital administration imposed a ban on burning garbage and wheat stubble in the capital for two months.

Officials of the capital administration said a preliminary investigation suggested that the fire had erupted at the Sabzi Mandi’s auction area but the cause was uncertain.

Over the incident, a case was registered at the Sabzi Mandi police station against unidentified persons in response to a complaint lodged by the SHO Syed Ishtiaq Hussain.

In another incident, at least a dozen of vehicles confiscated by the capital police and kept in an old building of the Noon police station at I-14 were burnt in a fire, the police said.

Wheat stubble on the privately owned land around the building caught fire that spread to the police station and damaged the vehicles.

Likewise, a fire erupted at a shop in the auto market at I-10/3 and damaged three vehicles, said the police.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2022

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