KARACHI: The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) on Wednesday informed the Sindh High Court that it had conducted a fire safety audit of over 265 commercial buildings and not a single one was found having a fire safety certificate or a no-objection certificate (NOC) issued by the fire brigade department.

The report, filed on the behalf of Metropolitan Commissioner Afzal Zaidi, stated that serious shortcomings had been observed during the audit.

“Accordingly, it is requested that the report may kindly be perused and instructions may be issued to all concerned including Sindh Building Control Authority and occupants of the surveyed buildings to take necessary measures to improve fire safety and fire control in case of any incident,” it added.

The report also maintained that recently, a number of fire incidents had been reported from different parts of the city which resulted in loss of life and property and the primary cause of such losses was poor measures taken by the occupants or owners of such buildings.

Official says serious shortcomings observed in safety audit of commercial buildings on three major roads

It further stated that as a measure to improve fire safety procedures, the KMC had initiated an exercise of conducting fire safety audit of various buildings and in the first phase, the audit survey of around 265 buildings, located on Sharea Faisal, I.I. Chundrigar Road and Shahrah-i-Quaideen/Tariq Road, was conducted.

The report added that 145 buildings, located on Shahrah-i-Quaideen/Tariq Road, around 75 on Shahrea Faisal and 45 located on I.I. Chundrigar Road were inspected.

The court was informed that none of the buildings had an NOC or fire safety certificate issued by the fire brigade department of KMC while most of such buildings did not have any fire safety system and emergency exits.

Out of 265 buildings, around 155 did not have fire alarm and smoke detector installed while status of nine such buildings was not available in this respect, the report added.

Similarly, the condition of wiring and electric system of over 155 buildings was termed unsatisfactory by the KMC.

About access for firefighting equipment, it submitted that around 200 buildings had no or unsatisfactory firefighting equipment.

The SHC had directed provincial authorities to ensure that relevant teams must inspect all shopping malls in the city in order to make certain the safety standards.

The bench expressed resentment over a number of fire related incidents that recently took place at the shopping and commercial malls/buildings in the provincial metropolis.

The SHC had passed such directives in a case related to a fire at a shopping mall on Rashid Minhas Road. At least 11 people had died while five others were injured after a blaze erupted inside the R.J. Shopping Mall in the early hours of Nov 25 because of a suspected short circuit.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2024

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