LAHORE: As many as 300 shops in eight commercial plazas caught fire early in the morning at Mochi Gate, the densely populated commercial area on Monday resulting injuries to 24 persons besides heavy financial losses. The disastrous fire, in densely populated commercial area of provincial capital, went out of control as the Helicopters, Rescue Services 1122, Fire Brigade, Civil Defence and other emergency rescuers failed to get control on the fire even after a hectic operation comprising on more than 15 hours.City government sources claimed that the fire fighter were gradually getting control on fire and much of its intensity has been reduced as the under fire area was shrinking.As many as 24 persons have been rescued so far and shifted to Mayo hospital out of which 11 were discharged after first aid while others were still under treatment.Almost all concerned departments, including Rescue 1122, Fire Brigade, civil defence, city district government and police were present at the site and fire control was still under way.The aerial operation by helicopters finished the fire control operation due to the darkness after sunset.City government, Rescue and Police told that the fire broke out in a godown of chemicals at Bahria Centre, around 8:30 am and spread out to adjoining buildings including Safaid masjid, eight plazas as well as the residential buildings.Chemicals, perfumes, toys, plastic manufacturing materials and other inflamables etc worth tens of millions of rupees were gutted.Police and Rescue 1122 added that a portion of Bahria Centre collapsed causing major damage and injuries. Police said short circuiting could be the reason of the fire.The DCO Ahad Cheema was supervising the fire control operation at the site.MPA Salman Rafiq, Commissioner Nadeem Hasan Asif and others visited the area and inspected the operation.
The traders of the affected buildings also expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of concerned authorities.They held the departments initiating fire control operation responsible for not getting control on the fire even after 15 hours.All Pakistan Anjuman Tajiran (APAT) also demanded the government to provide compensation to the traders of Mochi Gate, Shahalam Market, affected of disastrous fire.Khalid Pervez, President APAT, talking to the mediamen after his visit to the under fire area, said that hundreds of traders were badly affected due to the fire as their business were completely destroyed.
He said that the fire control operation should be completed as early as possible and every possible government resources must be utilized to stop the fire from engulfing more shops.
He estimated the financial loss upto billions of rupees – APP