Would-be bride, four other women die as mysterious fire engulfs Rawalpindi home
Tragedy befell a home on Rawalpindi’s Sixth Road where preparations were taking place for a wedding, as a fire erupted and burned alive five women, including the bride-to-be.
The victims were identified as the 24-year-old bride, Sana; 14-year-old Hina; 20-year-old Hafza; 25-year-old Manahil; and 22-year-old Nayna.
Four women died on the spot while the fifth women, who had received serious burn wounds, succumbed to her injuries at the hospital, The bodies have been handed over to the families of the deceased.
Eyewitnesses told that the fire broke out on the ground floor of the house and moved upwards to engulf the upper storey.
The homeowner, Malik Abdul Ghani, while narrating the incident , laid the blame on rescue services: “They did not arrive timely and as a result five women, including my daughter are now dead.”
The aggrieved father said his daughter was due to be married on Thursday, whereas today, a mehendi ceremony was going to take place.
When the fire broke out, between 40 and 50 guests were present within the home. Some had to jump out from the upper floor in order to save their lives.
According to New Town Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Ziauddin, the source of the fire remains a mystery and it is being investigated whether the cause was a short circuit in the wiring, a gas leakage, or if it was a case of arson. He said that to this end, the Punjab Forensic Science Agency was also being consulted.
Former MPA Raja Hanif, an eyewitness to the tragedy, alleged that the rescue services arrived late and that the first fire truck to have arrived at the scene “did not have any water”.
Rescue services official Farooq Butt denied the allegations and said the rescue team had reached the residence six minutes after being alerted of the fire. However, they were “subjected to violence” which delayed rescue efforts and prevented the team from controlling the fire timely.
“Every individual present at the site of the incident was in a fit of rage and our operations were continuously interrupted,” he said, adding that “even then, due to their tireless efforts, the fire brigade team managed to control the fire”.
Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also visited the site of the incident and extended his condolences to the family.
He said the “entire house was constructed from wood, which is why the fire spread so quickly”.
The minister said that investigations were underway and that strict action would be taken if any negligence is discovered.
“I have been informed that the fire brigade tanker did not have any water. If this is true, an inquiry will also be conducted against them,” said the railways minister.