- Fire began on sixth floor of PTCL Egerton Road Exchange and quickly spread to other floors, nearby buildings
- Help-lines of govt depts, including Rescue 1122, Police 15, along with 45,000 telephone lines, 25,000 internet connections down
- Five rescuers injured, eight people rescued from building
- PTCL officials say it will take two days to three to four days to restore services
A massive fire broke out in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) exchange building on Egerton Road early on Sunday, disconnecting 45,000 telephone lines and almost 25,000 internet connections across Lahore. The fire also quickly spread to other buildings in the area.
Initial investigations revealed that the fire broke out because of a short circuit, said Lahore district coordination officer (DCO).
According to rescue sources, the fire broke out on the sixth floor of the eight-storey building after midnight and had spread to the other floors by the time rescue workers reached the site.
The rescue personnel managed to put out the fire after hectic efforts but the flames again started rising around 4 am, engulfing other floors and nearby buildings. Firemen were able to douse the fire by afternoon but heavy smoke could be seen rising from several floors till evening.
Fire fighters and rescue teams were present at the site till the filing of this report.
PTCL officials told Pakistan Today that it was too early to ascertain the losses caused by the fire as no one had entered the building which was “too hot” to be inspected.
So far, eight people have been rescued from the building, the spokesman said, adding that five rescuers were also injured.
The fire has affected telecommunication services in several areas while Internet services had also been suspended across the city.
“It will take three to four days to restore PTCL services in the city,” said a PTCL spokesman. He said that all help-lines including Rescue 1122, Police Emergency 15, Edhi Emergency Service, Pakistan Railways 117, state call centres and official numbers as well as ATM services in the city were suspended because of the fire.
Rescue spokesman Jam Sajjad said that the cause of the fire could not be ascertained as yet.
“It might have been caused by a short circuit but the actual reason will be known when we are able to properly inspect the building,” he said.
According to PTCL sources, the services will be restored in few days.
Meanwhile, work is underway to temporarily restore telecom and Internet services by connecting the affected telephone lines with PTCL’s Garden Town Exchange but the process can take up to 10 hours.