The Karachi police on Friday said that a huge fire at a bungalow in Defence Housing Authority Phase-VI was not caused due to a gas suction device — contrary to social media reports.

South Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Syed Asad Raza told Dawn.com that the fire erupted in a businessman’s bungalow situated on main Saba Avenue around 7:30am.

He said there was an empty plot adjacent to the house where furniture and wooden items were kept. “The fire erupted in the wooden items, which spread to the house of the businessman. Firemen managed to control it. No injury to human beings was reported,” the SSP said.

Contrary to social media reports, Darakshan Station House Officer Saeed Ahmed disputed that the fire was caused by the use of a gas suction device.

He said the fire erupted because of some “short circuit”.

Social media users had said that a gas suction machine had “burst”, causing the fire.

However, while the police termed a short circuit as the probable cause of the incident, a Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) spokesperson said it was “unfortunately one more incident [of air pump blasts], adding to the many already on the list”.

SSGC spokesperson, Safdar Khooharo told Dawn.com: “The act of deployment of gas suction devices/compressors is not only immoral and illegal but also highly insecure, often leading to loss of precious human lives and properties.”

The spokesperson added that it was also a crime under the Gas (Theft and Recovery) Act 2016 for which the court could sentence the culprit to six months of imprisonment or a Rs100,000 fine.

A gas suction device is an air pump that is sold as a useful suction gadget for improving gas pressure despite the fact that it is illegal to install such a device, just like it is illegal to install a suction pump in the water line.

These pumps can be installed in the gas supply line just before your stove, heater or gas-run generator. They range in power. But using an external device like this to suck gas or water deprives other users of the utility. Therefore, its use is illegal.

Experts say the gas authorities have a way to check this illegal activity. If the gas supply in a particular locality is low, but the gas reading from a particular house shows higher usage, the residents can be caught and can be charged for illegal use of an external device on the gas pipeline.

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