LAHORE - Valuables including electronics, mobile phone accessories and stationary items were reduced to ashes when fire broke out in the basement of a double-storey commercial plaza situated near Patyala ground of the Hall Road here on Saturday. The fire which first erupted in the basement of the Patyala Complex spread so rapidly that it later engulfed six shops within no times. The fire incident created panic among the traders, shopkeepers and employees of Hall Road. The cause of the fire incident could not be established immediately. The Rescue 1122 and shopkeepers however, said that the fire incident might be the result of short-circuiting while few traders claimed that it occurred when a shopkeeper mistakenly left a candle in his godown situated in the basement of the plaza. The flames of the fire could be seen from a distance. The victim shop owners held responsible to the Wapda authorities saying that the shopkeeper lit a candle due to prolong unscheduled loadshedding. The owners and employees of the shops also alleged that they suffered loss due to the delay in launching fire-extinguishing operation, as the rescuers had reached the site about 45 minutes late. The affected plaza was housing more than 50 shops and godowns in its basement and first floor. Most of the shopkeepers were running the business of computers, mobile phone accessories and stationeries. As many as 50 fire fighting squad officials of both the City District Government and the Rescue 1122 took part in the rescue operation. A rescue 1122 fire fighter said that the main reason behind the rapid spread of the fire was huge stock of special comical in the godowns of the plaza's basement that was being used for the photo copy machines as most of the shopkeepers were running their business of photo copy and stationary items in the basement as well as no the first floor of the plaza. He denied the allegations of reaching the spot too late saying that the Rescue 1122 fire-extinguishing unit had reached the site within 10 to 15 minutes. However, delay occurred in launching the rescue operation owing to the encroachment on all the roads leading to the plaza. Another reason, the Rescue 1122 official said, was that the rescuers faced immense difficulties in reaching the main point where fire erupted, as there was only one narrow route to reach the basement. The rescuers however controlled the fire within four hours of the incident, they said adding that the loss was estimated in millions of rupees.