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Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:24 AM
By Farooq Baloch
A major fire broke out in the Continental Trade Centre (CTC) a multi storey building next to Gulf Shopping Centre in Clifton on Saturday leaving five people injured and burning goods worth millions. Mercifully, no casualties were reported despite the fact that the basement and first two floors of the building were completely gutted by the fire.
Shop keepers complained that fire department was about 45 minutes late to reach the spot and according to them almost 50 shops were englufed by the fire by the time the fire fighters arrived. For its part, the city fire brigade says the KPT first attempted to contain the fire that later went out of control, following which they were called for further help.
According to eyewitnesses, fire broke out at about 11:30am in a shoe shop located in the corner of the ground floor of CTC but strong winds gave the blaze a new life and in minutes it multiplied, covering the entire floor and then the basement and then other floors.
It was a commercial building with a number of garments shops that contained silk clothes. This inflamable material caught fire repeatedly and caused difficulties in the rescue operation. More than 20 fire tenders from the City Fire Brigade department reached the spot along with two high snorkels and a rescue vehicle the town administration Saddar also provided machinery and manpower to help evacuate people.
A navy helicopter also participated in the rescue operation while fire tenders and hydrants from KPT, DHA and Navy also helped in containing the fire. A huge number of ambulances also reached the spot. The injured and unconscious were identified as Rashid 21, Mohsin 16, Irfan 22, Imran 25, Hina 20. They were all employed in shops at the CTC and were sent to Civil Hospital for medical treatment. Besides fire fighters and other rescue workers from civic agencies, shopkeepers also participated in containing the fire.
“The basement and first two floors have completely destroyed,” said Jamshed Bashir, proprietor of Majid and Sons a garment shop. “Fire brigade came 45 minutes after the fire broke out,” he lamented, adding, “We tried to contain the fire by ourselves and helped our people evacuate.”
He further said that only one ambulance arrived after they called for help. “We made several phone calls but no one took us seriously,” he said and added that when the fire went out of control then fire engines came to help but by that time more than 50 shops already been reduced to ashes. Bashir who also owns another shop “Jimy’s mobile” in the same market said that a generator burst out in one of the shops that resulted in fire.
Another shop keeper M. Fahim Khan who has an embroidery shop told The News that when they phoned fire brigade only one shoe shop was trapped by fire which could easily be contained if the fire fighting vehicles were in time. “When a couple of shops caught fire we started to rush out of the building but within few minutes the entire building was under fire, said Farooq Khan, owner of KGN boutique situated in the affected building. He added, “There were goods costing millions of rupees that were completely destroyed. Each shop had goods that worth at least Rs0.5 to 1 million.”
The shop keepers, annoyed at what they thought was a late response on part of the rescue services lamented that they lost their expensive goods and besides they now have to reconstruct their shops and start from zero again. One of them said his business was finished and since the infra structure of the building collapsed therefore it might be sealed and he has to look for new place and restart his business. When asked if their shops were insured, most of them denied this and one person said that this area is a safe place when ever or what ever happens in the city this area is never closed so there is no need for insurance.
An estate agent who requested anonymity told this correspondent that the fire was not caused by any generator it was due to the short circuit that took place in the shops that have been illegally built by the same traders. These shops, he said, have been built in the passage adjacent the building. These 20 to 25 small shops are illegal and have been provided three phase meters that were in poor state in addition to being insecure which often caused extra load on the main power supply this is why these shops caught fire.
A source from Saddar town said that they provided machinery to help clear up the debris and manpower to help evacuate people. “We deployed lifters near the building and with their help we broke side walls in order to evacuate people,” he said, adding, “The wind was blowing very strong that increased the fire and then rain started which created difficulties in the operation. The heavy smoke caused suffocation and few people fell unconscious including one of our workers. We have also provided light arrangement so that operation could continue at night as well.”
When contacted, a Fire Brigade Head Office official told that first KTP attempted to contain the fire and they thought they would cover but it went out of control “they called us for further help.”
Asked why they were late to reach the location, he said, “We take one minute to send our vehicles once we receive a help call and in CTC’s case we immediately sent 4 fire tenders that covered the side of the building.” He added “It is the responsibility of the other agencies to clear the road and provide immediate movement to our vehicles.” He further stated that initially their staff covered the side of CTC which has a petrol pump next to it with a residential building behind that pump. “There were hundreds of people in that residential building. If it caught fire it would be very dangerous situation fortunately we were in time to cover that,” he added.
The exact reason for the incidence could not be discovered however it was said by eyewitnesses that there was a short circuit in a shoe shop that resulted in the incident. The fire was controlled to a great extent by 10pm while the fire tenders from all over the city were still working in the night to extinguish the embers and flames.
AKD ka office 6th floor per hai ? hopefully isay koi nuksaan nahi puhancha hoga.
Posted 24 June 2007 - 10:59 AM
AKD ka office 6th floor per hai ? hopefully isay koi nuksaan nahi puhancha hoga.
But AKD-TRADE website is not working. Will they be online on monday or not??????????
Posted 24 June 2007 - 08:49 PM
Working Fine .. re check plz .. thx
Click Here For: "Daily Reports From Different Brokerage Houses"
Note: Please make your own due diligence before making any decision
Abdul Mateen Khan
Posted 24 June 2007 - 10:47 PM
Received an email from AKDTrade which is reproduced as under for info of all concerned:
On Saturday, June 23, 2007, our Head office building i.e. Continental Trade Centre located in Block 8, Clifton Karachi, caught fire. By the grace of ALLAH, all our office staff is safe and secure. However, our telephone lines and electricity has been disconnected.
With our over night efforts we have managed to get our web services up and running. AKD Trade customers will be able to place their orders through the website (www.akdtrade.com). However our Call Center services will not become operational till PTCL lines are fixed.
We regret for the inconvenience caused by the unavailability of the call center. Please rest assured we are doing our best to make it operational at the earliest. In the interim, if you need special assistance or resolution of urgent problem email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call any of the following cell numbers. Please note that we will be unable to take orders on the mobile phone as our compliance requirement need a recorded line for order placement.
We thank you for your patience and understanding and will keep you updated on the situation.
Posted 26 June 2007 - 09:02 AM
Following is another email message by a subsidiary of AKD Securities. I am quoting it from one of the Yahoo forums:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: AKD Pakistan Research
Date: Jun 25, 2007 1:21 AM
Subject: AKD RESEARCH: Normal service to resume on Tuesday the 26th JUNE
To: AKD Pakistan Research
The building housing the corporate office of AKD Securities caught
fire on Saturday 23rd June. Thankfully, there were no major injuries
or causalities as a result of the fire. The company has implemented
its Business Continuity Plan and we have been able to get most
critical and time-sensitive functions back online. We aim to have
complete services online by the coming Monday, and are working
around-the-clock to ensure this happens.
AKD Research, as a result of the fire, has not been able to release
the Stocksmart for last week and today's Daily. However, we aim to
have research functions fully up and running by tomorrow, and we
request your patience in this regard.
Our landlines are unlikely to be functional until Monday, therefore if
you have any queries please send to email@example.com or call
Rizwan Ahmed at +92333 2288139
Thank you for your patience and support
Chief Executive Officer
Posted 28 June 2007 - 01:40 PM
Further to the earlier msgs, following is another email from AKD Securities:
After the tragic incident on June 23, 2007, AKD Trade Team has been constantly making efforts to bring all the services back to normal. Even after such a big disaster AKD Trade Team had the capability and disaster recovery plan in place that our website was available for our clients from June 24, 2007.
We are pleased to announce that with our constant efforts we have brought up a make-shift Call Centre arrangement for our valued customers from June 28, 2007. Our Call Centre services were unavailable since June 23, 2007, because all the telephone lines and underground cable network was destroyed due to the fire. With this new arrangement AKD Trade customers will be able to avail the Call Centre services and place their orders by calling at the following numbers:
You may face some difficulty in connecting with the agent as the phone lines are limited. We appreciate your patience in this regard.
All these lines are recorded and customer will be asked for the following details for verification before placing their orders;
Phone Numbers (In record with AKD Trade)
Please note that our proper call center services (111-253-253) will remain unavailable till the PTCL lines are fixed.
In last couple of days we have received enormous phone calls and emails from our valued customers inquiring our staff safety. I would like to personally thank all AKD Trade customers for pledging immense support in this catastrophic situation.
We once again thank you for your patience, support and understanding.