Famous Karachi bakery left in the lurch after fire brigade fails to respond to calls
Lals Patisserie, a famous bakery on Khayaban-e-Shahbaz in Karachi, caught fire on Friday, after which the shop suspended all operations.
The owner said she kept calling the fire brigade and Rescue 15 but to no avail. Meanwhile, the fire spread and caused severe damage to the establishment.
“If Rescue 15 is not answering then who are you supposed to call?” said Lals owner Madiha Sultan, while speaking to The Express Tribune.
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According to her, the electrical fire started in an outlet connected to a coffee machine at 5:12am on Friday morning. At the time, there were only two people present at the shop. Sultan, a janitor, and Saeen, the night watchman, saw the fire and immediately called the manager.
After alerting the manager, the two employees tried to douse the fire with the help of security guards from neighbouring stores.
In the meantime, the manager, who lives 25 minutes away from the bakery, started calling Rescue 15 and the fire brigade but there was no response from either, she said.
Lals, Madiha said, was well-equipped to deal with fires. “Due to my own phobias, I have always insisted on keeping the bakery well-stocked in case of an emergency,” she said. “Luckily, we were equipped with buckets, fire extinguishers and blankets. You just cannot rely on the emergency services.”
With no response from Rescue 15 or the fire brigade, the men were left to fight the flames on their own. Due to heavy winds, the fire had spread deeper into the pâtisserie. The men first tried to douse the flame with buckets of water and fire extinguishers. After gaining some control over the flames, they used sand to finally snuff out the fire.
“You can see sparks behind the coffee machine on the CCTV cameras,” said Madiha. “And soon enough you can spot a flame that starts behind the coffee machine, eventually swallowing it up, and slowly taking over the bar,” said Madiha.
“When I woke up this morning and got all these calls, I thought, well I could get a job but what about all these people who work here. What will happen to them? They will be jobless,” she said.
In her Facebook post, Madiha said, “I feel incredibly lucky that the two men, Sultan and Saeen, our cleaner and night watchmen discovered this and scrambled to call everyone.”
The fire led to the closure of all operations for one day. The management said it will resume delivery services as soon as power is restored.
The owner of the confectionery said that it was still too early to determine the cause of the fire. “It’s just tragic that no one showed up,” she added.
Meanwhile, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s (KMC) municipal service director Masood Alam clarified that their emergency response number is 16 and it is functional round the clock.
However, if a fire incident takes place in a cantonment area, like Lals which is located in Defence Housing Authorit, the issue will be addressed by the respective cantonment first. And if they need any assistance, the KMC can provide them their services, he added.