A devastating fire at RJ Mall on Karachi’s Rashid Minhas Road resulted in the tragic loss of at least nine lives, with one individual sustaining injuries, as confirmed by hospital and police officials on Saturday.
Police surgeon Summaiya Syed that eight bodies were taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), and one was admitted to Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK). The injured individual, an 18-year-old, is currently receiving medical attention at CHK.
According to a report submitted to the chief minister’s house by District East Deputy Commissioner Altaf Sheikh, 22 people were successfully rescued and transferred to JPMC, with one person tragically succumbing to injuries on the way .
The District Commissioner (DC) provided an update, mentioning that the building has been cleared up to the fourth floor, with ongoing clearance operations on the fifth and sixth floors.
Shahrah-e-Faisal Station House Officer (SHO) Raja Tariq Mehmood informed that the affected building, a commercial high-rise, housed various establishments such as shopping centers, call centers, and software houses.
According to a statement from the Fire and Rescue spokesperson, they received report of the incident at 6:30 am. In response, eight fire tenders, two snorkels, and two bowsers were dispatched. The statement confirmed that the fire had been brought under control, and the cooling process was underway.
Sindh Inspector General (IG) Riffat Mukhtar issued directives to the senior superintendent of police in District East to take all necessary measures for the rescue operation. He also emphasized the need to clear the road to facilitate the movement of fire brigades.
Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Justice (rtd) Maqbool Baqar promptly took notice of the incident, directing immediate medical aid for the injured. In a statement, he expressed sorrow over the reported loss of “six people” and instructed the city commissioner to ensure the safe rescue of those still trapped. The chief minister underscored the government’s responsibility for the lives and property of the people.
Earlier in the week, city planners and engineers expressed concern, asserting that approximately 90 percent of structures in Karachi, spanning residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, lacked adequate fire prevention and firefighting systems. They condemned this as “criminal negligence” on the part of regulatory bodies, particularly the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), putting the lives of millions at risk in the metropolis.