Islamabad’s Centaurus Mall caught on fire on Sunday, which was brought under control within two hours. While no loss of life was reported, the fire has been raising questions about the provision of adequate fire safety preparations.
On the afternoon of October 9, a fire broke out on the fifth floor of the popular mall, which houses the food court. According to details, the fire erupted in the kitchen of one of the restaurants in the food court.
People were evacuated out of the mall and footage shows people running towards escalators in a bid to escape. Within two hours, the blaze was brought under control with the combined efforts of the fire brigade, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force and Rescue 1122.
According to a report by the Daily Times, a case has been registered pertaining to the fire, under Section 436. The media outlet reported that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has allegedly claimed that unidentified individuals set fire to the mall for ‘undisclosed reasons’.
Meanwhile, social media users are also pointing out the lack of fire safety most public buildings in Pakistan have, and the lack of fire emergency preparedness.
Popular radio host Sabah Bano Malik recounts an incident told to her by her friend’s mother, who claims that almost all the emergency exits were blocked with boxes.
Other users added their own experiences regarding the lack of fire exits the mall had, while also pushing for added safety checks in the future.
The mall and its surrounding residential towers have been sealed off for the foreseeable future till a technical team could report on the structural integrity and safety of the building.
An inquiry committee has also been formed to look into the cause of the fire and examine the existing fire precaution mechanisms in the building. A report on the findings of the investigation is to be submitted in three days.