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Saturday, February 17, 2024

Tragedy Strikes Karachi as Fire Engulfs Shopping Mall, Claims Eight Lives

Urgent measures were ordered to control the fire, and the injured were prioritized for immediate medical aid.

A devastating fire erupted in a multi-storey shopping mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi, resulting in at least eight casualties and a dozen injuries. The fire broke out at approximately 6:30 am on the second floor and quickly spread to the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors of the RJ shopping mall.

The cause of the blaze remains unclear, but officials have reported that a faulty generator on the roof may be responsible. As the fire department engaged in a four-hour operation with eight fire engines and two snorkels, more than 50 people were rescued, some critically injured. The injured were promptly transferred to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

Rauf Hamid, a survivor of the incident, shared the intensity of the situation, stating, “When the fire broke out, we saved ourselves by rushing towards a safe room. The smoke was so intense that we didn’t understand what was happening.”

The tragedy prompted immediate response and concern from Sindh Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar, who expressed regret over the loss of life. Urgent measures were ordered to control the fire, and the injured were prioritized for immediate medical aid.

The fire brigade, with a robust team of 50 firefighters and multiple firefighting vehicles, managed to bring the fire under control, allowing for ongoing rescue operations. The focus now is on rescuing additional individuals still trapped inside the mall.

Sindh Rescue Director Dr Abid Sheikh revealed that faulty equipment, specifically a generator on the mall’s roof, was identified as the initial cause of the fire. The rescue team worked tirelessly to bring out survivors and provide necessary medical attention. However, the situation was complicated by thick smoke and shattered windowpanes, causing explosions within the building.

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While eight lives were tragically lost, over 30 people successfully evacuated the mall, showcasing both the community’s resilience and the challenges faced during the evacuation process.

The incident not only raises questions about the safety protocols in commercial buildings but also highlights the need for efficient emergency response strategies. Investigations are underway to determine the exact cause of the fire, and authorities are emphasizing the importance of fire safety awareness to prevent such incidents in the future.

The tragic incident has prompted authorities to assess and reinforce safety measures in public spaces. As the city grapples with the aftermath, there is a renewed focus on building safety codes, emergency exits, and fire prevention protocols.

Sindh Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar’s swift response underscores the need for a coordinated effort between the government and local communities to prevent and respond to such emergencies effectively.