Initial report shows fire brigade was ‘push-start’ vehicle

The findings show that the poor maintenance of the fire brigade might be a reason for its late arrival at the site.—INP/File

LAHORE: Initial findings conducted by the City District Government of Lahore into the Shadbagh fire has proved that the fire brigade, which reached the spot to extinguish flames, was a push-start vehicle requiring immediate repair.

Officials say though the DCO has formed an inquiry team headed by the municipal services’ executive district officer and consisting of the Shalimar assistant commissioner and district officer (civil defence), the initial findings show that the poor maintenance of the fire brigade might be a reason for its late arrival at the site.

“One thing has proved that the fire brigade was a push-start vehicle. But the record shows that it took 16 minutes to reach there,” a senior CDGL official told Dawn on Sunday.

Take a look: Family buries children who perished in Lahore fire

He said the record, whose authenticity was yet to be assessed deeply, showed that the duty officials received information about the fire incident at 1:45am (Sunday) and the fire brigade reached the spot at 2:01am. And the work related to extinguishing the fire was completed at 2:10am.

When asked about the residents’ version of massive delay in arrival of the fire brigade despite many calls and inefficiency on the part of officials who failed to open the water pipe nozzles and requested the locals to bring water in buckets, the official said these allegations would be the core part of the detailed inquiry.

“According to my opinion there is something wrong happened. But it is also clear that when the fire brigade started operation, the flames expanded too much causing deaths of the children,” he added.

The official said the couple showed negligence as they went to Data Darbar at night, leaving their children alone at the house.

“The couple switched the AC on in the room (first floor) where three children were sleeping. After they left the house, the fire broke out due to a short circuit,” the official said.

He said the fire spread speedily and it melted the ceiling fan and other valuables. “Even father of the deceased children, when rushed back, received burns as soon as he tried to open the main iron gate which had turned extremely hot.”

Talking to Dawn, a member of the inquiry team said the probe was set to start by Monday (today) morning and it would take at least two days to ascertain the facts. “We will check everything in detail, including statements of the residents (eye witnesses) and the officials.”

He said the team would thoroughly check arrival/departure time of the fire brigade, requisition for maintenance work, log book, delay in maintenance, start and completion of fire extinguishing work.

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