The fire gutting a commercial plaza at Abbot Road in Lahore on Sunday could have been easily averted if only some of the basic safety arrangements had been in place. Eight precious lives were lost, including a child. The fire spread to surrounding areas injuring a total of 43 people. It is dreadful that this happened right in the centre of the city; hence it is no overstatement that buildings in other neglected areas are on borrowed time.The cause was again a short circuit but that is the standard way to explain away the tragedy. It has been found out that there was neither any emergency exit nor fire extinguishing equipment. Of course, how many buildings can one find in our bustling urban centres where such equipment is available or where the staff is given training for emergency scenarios. The culture is unheard of. Even when the buildings look obviously decrepit, no one is ever bothered, until they crumble or lead to some accident. So far as the authorities are concerned, it only needs some cash to procure the fitness certificate. A report saying that British era buildings survived the earthquake of 2005, while present ones succumbed to it is a severe indictment of the vigilance especially when commercial buildings are built. The authorities should take precautionary measures compulsory, lest another accident should happen.