Devastating fire destroys over 500 stalls at Islamabad’s Sunday Bazaar

A massive fire engulfed Islamabad’s Sunday Bazaar on Wednesday (July 10), destroying over 500 stalls in the I-9 open-air market, according to local media reports.

The blaze, which began in the garments section, rapidly spread to stalls selling crockery and utensils, causing goods worth millions of rupees to be reduced to ashes. Islamabad’s open-air market is a popular spot where vendors set up stalls each week to sell a wide variety of goods.

Despite the presence of multiple fire trucks, the firefighting efforts were hampered by a shortage of fire brigades in Islamabad, Dawn reported. Consequently, assistance was sought from Rawalpindi rescue teams and the firefighting unit of the Pakistan Navy.

Islamabad’s Deputy Commissioner, Mohsin Ali Randhawa, assured that all available resources were utilized to control the fire. Ten fire brigade vehicles from the Islamabad administration were deployed, with additional support from the Pakistan Navy, Air Force, and Rawalpindi administration.

No casualties have been reported so far, but the loss of goods has left many vendors devastated.

The Islamabad Police have cordoned off the area and are collecting evidence to determine the cause of the fire. “A full investigation into the fire will also be carried out,” the capital police wrote on the X platform, adding that measures have been taken to maintain traffic flow around the market. They urged citizens to avoid unnecessary gatherings and cooperate with the authorities.

The Sunday Bazaar, also known as Itwar Bazaar, spans 25 acres and features over 2,700 shops. It is renowned for offering affordable goods, including clothing, household items, fresh produce, and electronics, making it a significant hub for both vendors and shoppers in the federal capital.

In response to the disaster, senior district administration officials have formed a committee to investigate the cause of the fire and assess the damage. They have also promised to compensate traders for their losses and seek their cooperation in the recovery process. As the investigation continues, the community remains hopeful for swift and effective measures to support the affected vendors and prevent such incidents in the future.

This incident follows another recent market fire in Peshawar’s Nauthia Phattak area, where at least 80 shops were destroyed, and three people were injured. In that case, the fire originated from a small makeshift structure and quickly spread, engulfing wooden cabins and a power transformer.

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