ISLAMABAD – At least two people died and at least five other injured after a massive fire broke out at Awami Markaz in Islamabad’s Red Zone on Sunday morning.
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Two night-shift employees, identified as Ali Raza and Umer, had jumped out of the building to escape the inferno, according to reports in local media. They were admitted to a hospital with severe wounds where they succumbed to their injuries.
The fire which had reportedly been ‘cleared’ by the capital’s fire department on Sunday re-emerged before it was finally contained by the efforts of firefighters and the Pakistan Navy.
Initially, the fire started due to short-circuiting in an air-conditioning plant and almost engulfed the entire tower which is located on the Constitutional Avenue of the federal capital.
Rescue workers said they broke the building’s windowpanes to enter into the premises and safely evacuated 12 people. The search is still on for the missing watchman of the building.
The building, located close to the PTV headquarters and a five-star hotel, houses several private and government offices and was declared the Software Technology Park 1 earlier.
Initial reports stated that the fire erupted in the upper floors of the six-storey building, however, later officials said the fire began on the ground floor near an office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman. The record of a Rs50 billion project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), placed in the Federal Ombudsperson’s office, was also said to have been completely destroyed.
Two vehicles parked in the building’s parking area were also damaged as a result of the fire.
Rangers and police were on site to assist in rescue efforts when the incident occurred.
The acting deputy commissioner of Islamabad has formed a three-member committee to probe the incident.