Four die in leather warehouse blaze in Lahore – Pakistan

Four die in leather warehouse blaze in Lahore – Pakistan

LAHORE: Four people died and 28 others were injured, three of the critically, after a fire broke out at a leather warehouse near Mochi Gate on Thursday.

The fire engulfed the triple-storey building that housed flats and shops. Those who died and suffered injuries were workers and employees at the warehouse and shops.

Witnesses said most of the injured were in their flats in the upper portions of the building and got trapped due to thick toxic smoke and huge flames around. The deaths occurred owing to deep burns and suffocation, police and Rescue 1122 officials said.

The deceased were identified as Abdul Malik, Abdul Wadood, Dad Khan and Feroze Khan who worked at the warehouse and other shops in the same building.

The injured workers said they were trapped in the building because of darkness and dense smoke.

City Division SP Operations Safdar Raza Kazmi said the fire broke out at the warehouse due to a short-circuit and spread to the entire building because of inflammable material stocked there in huge quantity. He said one of the four people died on the spot while three others succumbed to their injuries at the Mayo Hospital.

Many of the injured are fighting for life after tragedy

The injured were taken to the hospital where the condition of three others was stated to be critical due to deep burns, he said. Two of the injured workers had fractures when they tried to jump from the first floor of the building to save lives, Abdul Khaliq who is under treatment at the Mayo Hospital, told the media.

He said as soon as smoke entered the building, he and his three other roommates tried to rush downstairs but failed to find any way because of darkness. He said the electricity supply had been suspended because of massive fire and they managed to get out of the building through windows.

He said he could hear cries of the workers running for safe passage in the corridors of the building.

A spokesperson for the Rescue 1122 said seven special trucks were dispatched shortly after they received call about a fire in the leather warehouse. He said the teams found it very difficult to reach the building because of narrow streets. And the fire spread to an alarming level before the operation could be started, he said.

The huge stock of inflammable material particularly the leather and plastic cartons in the warehouse and other shops caused the massive fire, he said. The rescue teams managed to control the blaze after hectic efforts of four hours or so, he said, adding that the cause of the fire was said to be a short-circuit.

He said most workers present in their flats in the upper portion of the building fainted owing to thick smoke. The building was later handed over to police for further investigation, he said.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2020

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