LAHORE  -  A man died and two others sustained injuries when a plaza caught fire on MM Alam Road on Saturday.

The fire broke out in the basement of Ali Tower and spread upwards. The incident triggered panic in the posh locality spanning a good number of restaurants and shopping malls.

The injured were taken to a hospital where 50-year-old, who jumped from the second floor to save his life, succumbed to his injuries.

Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar ordered all departments concerned to to use all-out resources to control the blaze and rescue all the people trapped in the plaza.

“Recue 1122 and all concerning departments should speed up their efforts and complete the rescue operation at the earliest” he said in a statement. The Express Tribune reported 50 people were trapped inside with thick smoke causing suffocation. The fire’s intensity was higher in the lower levels of the building. The victims took shelter on balconies, took off their shirts and waved to rescuers in a desperate plea for help. Authorities reached the scene in 10 minutes and launched a rescue operation.

They blocked the entrances of MM Alam Road to ensure the movement of rescue teams was not impeded by traffic. Rescue services launched an operation at the first level to extinguish the fire and the second level to evacuate those trapped.

Rescuers entered from the adjacent building’s eighth floor using ropes and stairs to evacuate those trapped. After an hour-long operation, authorities managed to bring the fire under control, after which the evacuation process began.