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250 shops gutted in fire in Karachi market

Defence station house officer (SHO) Aurangzeb Khattak told the Dawn newspaper that a short circuit might have caused the fire. (Representative image) Photograph:( AFP )

Agencies Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan Aug 07, 2016, 05.51 AM (IST)
At least 250 shops were gutted after a massive fire broke out in Karachi's Gold Mark market Friday night, causing millions of rupees of damage, the Dawn newspaper reported.

It took 20 fire engines the entire night to bring the fire under control. Police said the fire broke out at 11.15 pm on Friday night, and that the fire brigage was able to bring it under control only at 6 am on Saturday morning. 

Police said only two fire tenders reached the spot initially. But when the authorities realised the gravity of the situation, fire tenders were rushed to the spot from all over Karachi. 

Police said a short circuit might have caused the fire. 

On Saturday morning, the affected shopkeepers of the Gold Mark market staged a sit-in protest on the main Korangi Road. They blocked the road for an hour, causing a traffic jam. 

The shopkeepers were protesting an alleged delay in response by the fire tenders, and the non-removal of a panaflex from the multi-storeyed building despite a Supreme Court directive that it be taken down. 

The shopkeepers -- who said they had turned off all lights and generators before leaving on Friday night -- said that the panaflex receives electricity through the night and that it may have caused the short cicuit. 

The blockage of traffic continued for some time, and the authorities had to hold talks with the protesting shopkeepers.

A senior police official told the Dawn that the discussions were successful and that “the shopkeepers ended their protest”.