Mysterious fire destroys 108 shops at Karachi market
KARACHI: At least 108 shops and godowns were gutted in a mysterious fire, which erupted in the metropolitan’s second largest wholesale market, commonly known as the Empress Market of Saddar Town on Sunday.
About 40 fire-tenders along with a large number of fire fighters from all fire stations of the city doused the fire after several hours of hectic effort, said the City District Government Karachi’s Chief Fire Officer Ehtisham Uddin.
“All fire-tenders of the CDGK were called on the scene which remained insufficient for taming the enraged fire hence more vehicles were called from the outskirts of metropolis,” he informed.
He said 46 shops were totally gutted down while 62 shops were partially damaged. He added that it is premature to determine the cause behind incident.
He said enraged people attacked everyone at the site including fire-tenders and fire fighters, which made the task all the more difficult. He said that the smoke clouds, suffocation and presence of combustible chemicals in shops posed challenges for the fire fighters.
Chairman of the Empress Market Association Haji Liaqat said that the Empress Market was established prior to the Indo-Pak partition and was situated in the heart of the city where a large number of traders were working from decades adding that the fire has ruined the lives of hundreds of families.
He informed that the fire erupted in the wee hours of Sunday around 3am at one portion of the market situated adjacent to Jahangir Park and within half an hour all shops of the site turned into ashes.
He said that the traders have suffered losses up to billions of rupees while thick clouds of smoke could still be seen hovering over the market adding that some parts of the building also collapsed due to the intense fire and low-intensity explosions could still be heard at the scene.
Security personnel were trying to keep people off the affected sites as thousands of people and shopkeepers gathered on the scene to witness the deadly blaze. SP Irshad Sehar rebuffed the idea of terrorism saying that the police have found nothing to prove any involvement of terrorists in the incident.