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Over 25 shops gutted in Gul Plaza

Over 25 shops gutted in Gul Plaza

KARACHI: More than 25 shops were burnt in a huge fire that broke out in a multi-storey market, Gul Plaza, on main M. A. Jinnah Road in Saddar Town on Sunday morning, Nabi Bux police station and fire brigade officials said.

The blaze erupted in the building at around 10am, which was controlled by six fire engines after three hours of hectic efforts. It was believed that a short circuit caused the fire.

According to a fire brigade official, the fire broke out on the 9th floor of the market. The official added that around 25 to 30 shops were destroyed while electric wirings of around 15 other shops were burnt.

Furthermore, a mosque located on the ninth floor was also partially damaged as its wiring was also burnt.

The fireman of the Saddar fire station said that apparently a short circuit caused the fire.

The both the fire brigade official and Nabi Bux police station SHO Ghulam Rasool said that estimation of the losses could not be made immediately as owners of the shops were not present there since it was morning and Sunday was a public holiday.

This was the second such incident in south district of the city.

On Saturday, at least 250 shops were destroyed when a huge fire broke out in the Gold Mark market in Defence off Korangi Road. In that incident, a short circuit was also stated to be the main cause of the blaze.

The fire brigade official said that most probably the rains caused the short circuit.

An official, sharing his experience of dealing with fires in district south markets in the metropolis, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn that electric wiring had been installed in a haphazard manner in shopping plazas.

Another tendency among shopkeepers had been noted that they usually got electricity from wherever it was possible and for that purpose they also uses ‘kundas’ to steal power, the official said. He added that the second major problem, which they encountered while controlling fire was lack of route/escape in markets.

There was only one way to enter the multi-storey building but no attention had been given for escape route, he said.

The fireman said in the Gul Plaza fire incident the firemen broke the shutters of the shops since these were closed and one of their firemen was miraculously saved during fire fighting.

All over the world, buildings had not been constructed till no objection certificate was issued by fire stations concerned, but this was not being followed in the city, regretted the fire official.

However, he said since electricity of Gul Plaza had now been cut, the shopkeepers would approach them to get an NOC merely for restoration of the power to the building without addressing the problem of installation of wiring in haphazard manner.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2016

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