ISLAMABAD: At least two people were killed as a fire engulfed the Awami Markaz Software Technology Park, a building which houses the offices of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) as well as Federal Tax Ombudsman and others.
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.
Rescue officials said the two people who died did not need to jump from the building as a fire exit was available.
They added that the two worked at a call centre inside the building and were injured from the fall. They were shifted to separate hospitals but succumbed to their injuries.
According to reports, the fire was alleged to have burnt record of federal tax ombudsman’s office, and record of Rs50 billion worth of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, as the building, also housed a project office of CPEC. The Ministry of Planning and Development, however, denied such reports saying that there was no question of CPEC documents being present in that building
“The CPEC Center of Excellence was formed six months ago, with the purpose to find new ways to further cooperation between the two countries. No documents relating to bilateral agreements in the past or future projects were kept there,” a spokesman for the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also denied the rumours of CPEC documents being burnt saying that the centre is used for research and it does not have official documents or data of the CPEC.
A four-member committee, headed by the additional deputy commissioner, has been constituted to identify factors behind the incident.
Fire fighters managed to douse a huge blaze after two hours of hectic efforts and then started the ‘cooling efforts’. Seven fire tenders took part in the operation to douse the flames, according to rescue officials.
The blaze which had reportedly been “cleared” by the capital’s fire department, re-emerged before it was finally contained by the efforts of firefighters and the Pakistan Navy.
Sources said the fire was reportedly caused by short-circuiting. The building is located in the capital’s Red Zone, close to other important government buildings and a five-star hotel.
Two vehicles parked in the building’s parking area were also damaged as a result of the fire. Rangers and police were also on site to assist in rescue efforts.