Electronic items, laptops, mobile devices, other valuables worth millions of rupees reduce to ashes | Short-circuiting behind fire eruption | 20 teams of fire brigade, 70 rescue officials take part in operation | DC says rescue officials successful in bringing fire ‘under control significantly’ | CM seeks report of Hafeez Centre fire incident

Lahore   -  Electronic items, laptops, mobile devices and other valuables worth millions of rupees were reduced to ashes in dozens of shops when a fire broke out in Hafeez Centre, Gulberg area, here on Sunday, due to electric short-circuiting. 

According to Rescue-1122 spokesman, the fire erupted inside a shop on the second floor and spread across the plaza in no time.

On receiving information, Rescue-1122 teams rushed to the scene and started rescue operation. Firefighters were trying to extinguish the fire for several hours, with little success till filing of the report in Sunday evening. 

About 20 teams of the fire brigade and 70 rescue officials were taking part in the operation. Eight out of 12 teams had reportedly run out of water. The authorities had called more fire brigade units to the location. Gulberg’s Main Boulevard was blocked for traffic to continue the fire extinguishing activities. 

Deputy Commissioner Lahore Muddasir Riaz Malik, CCPO Lahore and other senior officers reached the site and inspected the rescue operation themselves. The DC Lahore told the media that firefighters had been successful in bringing the fire “under control significantly”. 

The Rescue-1122 spokesperson said that 85 per cent of the fire control process had been completed, and the cooling off process was under way currently. He said at least 25 people were rescued successfully and shifted to safety from the top floor of the plaza. He said no loss of human life or any injuries to people were reported. 

The authorities said the initial investigation showed that the fire broke out due to short-circuiting. However, a definite reason would be ascertained after thorough investigation.

Additional Chief Secretary Home Momin Agha was also present at the site of the rescue operation.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has sought a report from the administration about the fire eruption in Hafeez Center and directed to inquire about this incident. Soon after receiving the information about this incident, the CM directed all the concerned authorities of administration and Rescue 1122 to use all available resources for extinguishing fire. He directed to rescue those who were stuck on the roof immediately. 

On the directions of the Chief Minister, administrative officers and officials of Rescue 1122 reached on the spot and supervised the rescue operation and safely evacuated the people from the roof. Usman Buzdar remained in constant liaison with Commissioner Lahore Division and officials of Rescue 1122 and personally monitored the rescue operation. On the instructions of the CM, Dr Yasmeen Rashid and Mian Khalid Mahmood reached the spot and supervised the relief activities.

Usman Buzdar directed to further accelerate the rescue operation and said that relief operation should be conducted whole heartedly to prevent further spread of fire. All necessary resources should be utilized in this regard, he added. Usman Buzdar said that the cause of the fire eruption in Hafeez Center will be determined and brought to light. The CM said that he was grieved over the loss of traders and instructions had been issued to make estimates about the loss. “We will review the losses of the traders and take steps to compensate them,” he said.