Fire at Karachi’s departmental store still rages, nearby residents directed to evacuate

Authorities are still trying to douse the fire that erupted in the warehouse of Chase departmental store, located opposite Karachi Central Jail, more than 24 hours after it started, PEN reported .

Residents of buildings next to the store have been directed to evacuate as well.

On Wednesday morning, fire broke out in the basement of the departmental store, where oil containers were kept, sources told Business Recorder. Due to the severity, fire brigade vehicles from all over the city were called.

One person died of asphyxiation.

As per reports, the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) said that it will inspect the building and draft a report.

KMC Chief Fire Officer Mubeen Ahmed, who was at the site, told Aaj News that tankers from the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board were also ensuring a stable supply of water at the site of the fire. Maintaining a warehouse requires permission, which they didn’t have, he added.

“Basic emergency protocols weren’t followed.”

Ahmed said cargo isn’t permitted to be stored in the basement without explicit permission. “It is stored under sheds in the open so that it is visible in case there is any situation like this one.”

He said the situation was made worse as the department store is located on the ground floor of the 15-storey residential complex.

The reason of the fire could not be immediately ascertained but one fire department official said that it was due to a short circuit in the basement.