Teen killed in shopping centre fire

Dozens of shops burn to ashes in Rawalpindi plaza fire

Rawlpindi_A teen was killed as fire broke out at the Gulf Shopping Centre, 24NewsHD TV channel reported on Saturday   The deceased is identified as 15-year-old Muneeb, Rescue officials said, adding that he was sleeping in a shop when the tragedy took place.

The fire erupted on the second and third floors of the Gulf Shopping Centre on Murree Road. It engulfed 25 shops The rescuers put out the fire and the search operation is going on.

The incident occurred in the afternoon when most people were on holiday due to Ashura.The fire quickly spread across the second floor of the plaza, engulfing a large number of shops filled with garments, clothes, and jewellery. However, it did not stop at Gulf Centre and spread to adjacent buildings including Rabi Plaza and China Centre.

Rescue 1122 summoned assistance of firefighters from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to control the fire. Besides this, Rescue 1122 could not be reached timely due to suspension of mobile signals while this also posed challenges in coordination and rescue operation. It took nearly three hours of continuous efforts to bring the fire under control. By the time the blaze was contained, dozens of shops had been reduced to ashes, and goods worth billions of rupees were lost.

The shopping plaza, which housed around 250 to 300 shops, mainly comprised clothing stores on the ground floor and rug and blanket shops on the upper floor. Rescue officials said all the people inside the mall were evacuated promptly and no casualties were reported. Rescue Incharge Sibghatullah said, “Our first response vehicle arrived promptly, but the remaining vehicles faced delays due to a traffic blockage.” He said absence of proper ventilation facilities inside the plaza resulted in the smoke spreading to neighbouring buildings. As of now, the exact cause of the fire remains unknown and investigation in this regard is underway.