KARACHI - A denim factory at one of the industrial zones in the city was gutted when a fire broke out there on Friday afternoon.

The fire broke out at the multi-storey garments factory located in the industrial area in Landhi. Fire fighters from the Fire Brigade Department reached the scene and started efforts to extinguish the fire.

Initially, fire brigade officials dispatched two fire tenders to the factory, but later they sent 10 more with two water bowsers and a snorkel. It was later declared a ‘third-degree fire’.

Hundreds of workers work in the factory in two shifts that has an area of around two acres. Most of the workers had left for Friday prayers when the fire broke out at the factory, police said.

Only a few workers were present in the factory when the fire broke out and they were able to escape unhurt.

Before the fire fighters could douse the fire, it engulfed the entire unit and reached the third floor of the building. The fire brigade spokesperson said there were around a dozen fire tenders and they had run out of water. Private water tankers were called to help fire tenders extinguish the fire.

Rejecting workers’ claims that fire tenders reached the scene after a considerable delay, fire brigade officials said they received information about the fire at the factory at around 2:35pm. “As soon as we got information, two fire tenders were immediately rushed to the scene,” said Fakharuddin, the man in charge of the Landhi Fire Station.

KMC Senior Director for Municipal Services Masood Alam said the fire erupted at the ground floor and then spread to the upper floors. “There weren’t any fire rescue passages or equipment inside the building,” he said. There were chemical drums inside the factory that started exploding, he added.

The building can collapse anytime, he said. He pointed out that the Sindh Building Control Authority should remain on standby for this and must check why there weren’t any emergency exits inside the building. Fire fighters were still trying to extinguish the fire when this report was filed on Friday evening.