LAHORE: The fire incidents are increasing in the city due to short-circuiting and power tripping, especially when substandard uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units are involved.
A similar incident involving two of the three factors claimed two more lives on Saturday when a fire broke out in a cardboard factory in the industrial area of Kot Lakhpat.
The deceased this time were the security guards of the factory, identified as Imran of Mozang and Nazir of Chakwal.
The guards were sleeping in a room of the factory when the fire broke out in the factor’s warehouse due to a short circuit late Friday night.
Upon being informed, rescue teams, police and other officials concerned reached the spot and started the rescue operation.
The rescue officials said that around 15 fire tenders rushed to the area and doused the blaze. They said that timely action helped bringing the blaze under control, and that other employees of the factory were safely evacuated after six hours of hectic effort. Sources said that valuables worth millions of rupees reduced to ashes in this incident, but the actual loss of property would be estimated after thorough investigation.
The rescue teams also pulled the two bodies out and shifted them to the city mortuary.
Just a day before the incident, a 60-year-old man was burnt alive when a fire caused by a gas heater in the Chung police limits engulfed his room.
The deceased, identified as Muhammad Din, a resident of Jhanda Chowk, Chuhng, reportedly forgot to turn off the gas heater in his room before going to sleep. The clothes near the gas heater caught fire, which rapidly engulfed the room and killed Muhammad Din.
The last few years have witnessed a sharp increase in fire incidents in the city. In 2011, three youngsters had lost their lives in a factory fire, as no fire extinguisher was made available at the factory by the owners.
In February 2012, around 28 people, including 20 women and children, were killed when a factory located in Kharak, Multan Road, collapsed due to a fire and a boiler explosion.
In September 2012, around 22 labourers were burnt to death and 11 others injured when a fire broke out in a shoe factory on Bund Road due to a short circuit. In May 2013, 23 persons, including women, lost their lives in a fire that erupted due to a short circuit at the LDA Plaza on Edgerton Road.
On the issue, a Rescue 1122 spokesman said that short-circuiting, power tripping and substandard UPS units were some of the reasons that resulted in an increase in fire incidents in the city. He said that people should install security/fire systems in accordance with building by-laws. He said that people should avoid using substandard electric wires while constructing buildings.
About the challenges facing the rescuers, the spokesman said that they had only a 100-foot ladder, a 60-foot aerial platform, 15 engines, two water bruisers, three rescue vehicles, 22 ambulances and 500 rescuers.
He said that 10,601 fire incidents had occurred across the province during January to December 21, 2013, and more than 100 people had lost their lives in such incidents.
He said that most of the cases were reported in Lahore, where more than 2,500 fire incidents had been reported during this period.
In March this year, the Green Bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had ordered the Punjab government to form a fire safety commission. The court ordered the government to include secretaries of environment, industries and labour departments, besides other officials in the commission, which would review existing fire arrangements in buildings, identify dangerous buildings and develop mechanism to control fire incidents.
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