Fire erupts in PID building
Islamabad-Fire erupted at the Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications (DEMP) office located at Press Information Department (PID) building near Zero Point here on Wednesday morning. However, no loss of life was reported.
The blaze broke out on the ground floor of the DEMP and engulfed a large part of the building within minutes. The building is owned by Benevolent Funds and houses the offices of DEMP, Home Publicity Branch of the PID and the Director General of Federal Audit. According to the officials at the DEMP who spoke on condition of anonymity, the fire started in the washrooms on the ground floor of the building most likely due to short circuit. “I was in the adjoining room to see my boss during the break and upon my return, I saw my room engulfed in fire,” an official at DEMP told The Nation. There were no sensitive files/records that were destroyed in the blaze, according to the officials.
The fire started at around 1:15pm during the lunch break. According to another official at the PID, the fire started from a gas pipe and spread to the other rooms of the building. However, real cause of the fire could not be ascertained till filling of the report.
The staff of Emergency and Disaster Management directorate of Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI), Rescue 1122 and others rushed the spot and started rescue operation. As many as 7 fire tenders of MCI reached the spot within minutes, according to the officials. No loss of human life was reported while the rescue officials rescued two trapped children from the top of the building. The employees stranded inside the building were also rescued by the officials while two officials including a Protocol Officer at the PID received minor injuries in the incident. Some persons fainted due to smoke and were shifted to the hospital immediately. Inmates were evacuated with the help of snorkel. Thick smoke bellowed to the sky as fire started spreading to the adjacent rooms.
According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Secretary Shafquat Jalil inquiry would be conducted to ascertain the real cause of mishap.
According to the CDA officials, the staff of CDA and MCI reached the spot within minutes and supervised the operation to put out fire.
The building was repeatedly visited by the officials of the directorate to inspect arrangements for emergency situation but still a lot was required to do to meet the safety standards. According to a letter addressed by the Emergency directorate to the Director Admin Employees Benevolent Fund in 2013, the building lacked fire extinguishers, hose reels, yard hydrants, automatic sprinkler system, manual fire alarm, fire detection and warning system and public address system. The officials said that the building was repeatedly inspected and despite repeated warnings in this regard there was no improvement in the safety measures.
Later, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhary also visited the site. Talking to media, he said that an investigation committee has been formed to ascertain the cause of fire and loss to the official record.
He however, confirmed no casualty in the incident and said the record of PID is safe even after the incident.