KARACHI -  Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar on Sunday asked the Sindh government to make the fire department self-sufficient.

He lamented that on one hand, the provincial government was keeping the local government powers with it, and on the other, it was not serious in equipping the various departments with latest technology to tackle any untoward situation.

Waseem was talking to the media after overseeing fire extinguishing work in a factory located in Labour Square area of SITE.

A plastic factory was gutted in the incident. However, no loss of life was reported. According to details, fire broke out at the ground floor of the unit at around 9:30am.

Plastic chairs were manufactured at the factory, spreading over 1,600 square yards. The officials termed it a third-degree fire. The mayor said that all vehicles had been used in this particular incident, and in case such incident happened anywhere in the city in future, there was no vehicle left.

He directed the authorities to make all-out efforts to put out the fire.

Earlier, seeing the intensity of fire, the authorities called the tenders from all over the city. Besides that, firefighters from the Karachi Port Trust and Pakistan Navy also participated in the work.

The rescue teams faced massive difficulties in battling the fire due to strong winds. Explosions could be heard in the vicinity of the factory owing to the boilers, generator and chemical drums setting off.

Fortunately, no loss of life occurred, as no labourer was present inside the unit as it was Sunday.

Police and Rangers personnel cordoned off site of the incident to prevent passersby from coming closer.

Police officials said that they had reached the site to disperse the people who could create problems for the firefighters, adding that so far there was no clue as to how the fire actually broke out. “But it seems that it broke out accidently. However, nothing could be said exactly until the fire brigade department releases its final report,” an official told media.

Fire brigade spokesperson said that initially three fire tenders were sent to the site but were not sufficient to douse the inferno. “That is why more vehicles were dispatched, including water tankers,”

he explained.

The factory owner blamed the fire brigade department for using delaying tactics and not working properly.

He alleged that the firefighters had reached at the site late, and that, too, with insufficient vehicles and equipment.

He even held the department responsible for the loss of millions of rupees.

On the other hand, an official of fire brigade department, Zafar Khan, said that the firefighters did their best to douse the flames.

He argued that it was hard to put down the flames in few minutes because there were lots of chemicals and plastic present inside the factory. “Strong winds also created difficulties for the firefighters,” he said, and added that all available vehicles were dispatched to the site immediately, adding that they also ran out of foam soon into the firefighting operation.

After the request by the local government’s fire officials, fire tenders from water board, Pakistan Navy and the Karachi Port Trust also reached the site.

Due to the shortage of water, Managing Director Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) Hashim Raza Zaidi requested the authorities concerned to open water hydrants.