At least five people were killed and two others injured when a fire erupted in the Arshi shopping mall of Karachi’s Ayesha Manzil engulfing several shops and residential flats on Tuesday, Fire Brigade Department official Humayun Khan said.
The rescue teams recovered three bodies from the first floor of the gutted building, he added.
According to Khan, the fire had spread all over the building when the department’s teams arrived at the scene.
Earlier, the deputy commissioner of Central said that the blaze was doused partially as the cooling process was being carried out.
It took the authorities around three hours to extinguish the blaze which erupted at 5:47pm.
However, the rescue efforts were challenging on the ground and mezzanine floor of the building due to smoke, DC Central said.
According to him, the two injured were identified as Mustafa, 23, and Sajid, 60 who were moved to the Burns Centre of the Civil Hospital.
The hospital administration said that one of the injured was in critical condition as his body was burned 100% in the fire.
The fire erupted in a shop located under a residential building. The blaze soon engulfed the adjacent shops, parked vehicles, and trees. It went on to spread to the residential quarters located on the upper floors.
An official of the Karachi Fire Brigade Department said that seven fire engines were operating on-site to extinguish the blaze along with a snorkel, and a water bowser.
He went on to add that the fire was rapidly spreading due to the presence of foam and furniture in the shops.
Meanwhile, several cars and dozens of motorcycles that were parked around the building were gutted. The traffic flow on a track of Shahrah-e-Pakistan was disrupted as the authorities were attempting to extinguish the fire and evacuate the residents of the building.
SSP Central Faisal Abdullah revealed that the fire erupted in a foam shop and quickly spread to nearby stores.
He went on to add that the adjacent stores also housed such material due to which the fire escalated into an inferno.
Eyewitnesses claimed that several people evacuated the building on their own as the fire brigade department officials responded more than an hour after the building went in flames.
Sindh Rescue 1122 Director Abid Shaikh said that the blaze was a third-category fire.
The building had a ground floor and a mezzanine floor which were used for commercial purposes while four upper floors housed residential quarters, he added.
Speaking to Aaj News, Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab said that the Fire Brigade Department had deployed its fire tenders to extinguish the inferno.
The priority is to save lives, he said, as he denied knowing the number of occupants in the building.
Police said that they were evacuating the people stuck inside the residential quarters.
In a similar incident last year, a fire broke out in the basement of the store located at Jail Chowrangi in Karachi.
Millions of worth of goods burned to ashes. The fire was put out by water, foam, and iceballs after 45 hours of effort by the firefighters.
At least one person died because of asphyxiation (the state or process of being deprived of oxygen) in the fire at the department store.
This is a developing story…