RAWALPINDI: At least five women including A bride were burnt to death while two others were scorched due to a fire in a house here on Tuesday.
Rescue sources said that the fire initiated due to unknown reasons and engulfed a house situated at 6th Road in Rawalpindi.
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. The bodies have been handed over to the families of the deceased.
Earlier, four women had died on the spot while the fifth woman, who was among three scorched, succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.
According to the details, the fire broke out on the ground floor and soon took over the upper storey, engulfing it completely in red hot flames a few hours before the mehndi ceremony was to take place.
Further, a few guests who were present in the house jumped from the upper floor to save their life. It is estimated that there were between 40 and 50 guests present when the fire broke out.
New Town Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Ziauddin said that the sudden fire was mysterious but assured that it would be ascertained with the help of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA).
Speaking to a local media outlet, the owner of the house Malik Abdul Ghani lamented that the incident could have been prevented had rescue services been vigilant. “They did not arrive timely and as a result, five women, including my daughter are now dead,” he cried.
Former MPA Raja Hanif, who was also an eyewitness to the tragic incident, agreed that the rescue services arrived after a long delay. He informed that after arriving after a long wait, the first fire to show up came “without any water”.
On the other hand, rescue services official Farooq Butt claimed that the team had reached the house six minutes after being summoned to help but they were “subjected to violence” which was the actual cause behind the delay in putting the fire out. “Every individual present at the site of the incident was in a fit of rage and our operations were continuously interrupted,” he said.
Furthermore, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed visited the site of the tragedy to condole with the bereaved family and said that an inquiry would be launched into the matter of the fire brigade coming without any water.
“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 Sheikh Rasheed.