On Tuesday, a fire erupted near PTCL Plaza along with the II Chundrigar Road, Karachi, causing smoke plumes that were visible from a distance of a couple of kilometres.
All adjoining buildings were immediately evacuated.
Earlier, it was reported that the fire broke out at AWT Plaza but later on, it emerged that the fire broke out in the coils kept in a compound adjacent to PTCL Plaza.
Karachi has seen several fire incidents in November, and with no efficient firefighting system in place, it is said to be a city that is only protected by luck.
Just recently, a fire burned several shops at the Cooperative Market.
The frequency of fires, shootings, blasts, and muggings have desensitized the inhabitants of the city. For Karachiites, being safely alive is more a matter of luck than a fundamental human right.
According to media reports, the busiest city of Pakistan has only 22 fire stations. However, of the said 22, only 20 are fully operational. As per international standards, there should be at least one fire station per 100,000 people. With the said standard, Karachi’s population of 14 million has the requirement of 149 fire stations.
Another measure where the city is woefully lacking is the quality of firefighters.
Water is another challenge as the fire trucks parked at the stations have water for three to four minutes of firefighting, and at times, 1,800 gallons of water cannot last long to calm the raging flames.
Karachi’s primary cause of fire includes short circuits, especially when low-quality generators are made to bear wiring issues and a too-high load. Similarly, man-made incidents are also common.
The cash-strapped city has no political will or money to enhance firefighting capabilities, leaving it at the mercy of nature.