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The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s lawyer told the Sindh High Court that the local government has fixed six of its fire tenders, while the remaining 24 remain unusable.

The federal government has sent 50 fire tenders, he told the court as it resumed hearing the case on fire laws in Sindh on Thursday.

The court said that the remaining 24 tenders should be fixed in the next 10 days.

The KMC lawyer said that they won’t be able to do that because of a shortage of staff.

The court then summoned a reply from the local bodies secretary on KMC hirings. “What steps have been taken so far?”

A judge remarked that a fire was reported in the city a few days ago. “What did the fire department do? Was there a shortage of vehicles or water?”

The chief fire officer said the fire was doused in two hours.

The case was adjourned till January 26 and the SBCA DG summoned at the next hearing.

On January 25, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar said buildings with no emergency exits shouldn’t even be issued NOCs. “How are these buildings even issued completion certificates?”

The SBCA representative said the authority is working on improving the situation.

Fires in Karachi

There have been about 52 fires in shopping malls and supermarkets in Karachi in the last four years, reported SAMAA Digital on November 17.

Dr Syed Shahid Ali, who has retired from the department of Geography at the University of Karachi, brought together data on Karachi’s fire-fighting capabilities in 2015.

According to his tabulations, in Pakistan, fires kill 16,500 people and leave 164,000 injured or disabled every year. The losses and insurance claims run up to Rs400 billion. His paper goes into great detail on Karachi, which had, at the time of the paper’s publication, 22 fire stations.“One thing that I recommend is that a fire station be linked to our police stations,” said Dr Ali. “We have about 108 police stations in Karachi. You can associate the two.”

He found that the number of calls to fire stations has gone up in Karachi. From 2000 to 2013 more than 49,500 calls were received out of which about 96% were for fires. The good news is that fire stations are located well, with an immediate response area in a 2km radius from each one.

Abdul Gh Lone

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