Shahid Qadri, a firefighter with a 21-year service record, currently posted at the Saddar Fire Brigade, explains the delay. "Every year on Muharram, our vehicles are on stand by close to the route of the procession. On December 28, my firefighting team with one vehicle was near the Tibet Centre opposite the Mama Parsi School. As soon as the blast took place, we reached the spot within three minutes," he says.
"But the people gathered there attacked us. They started pelting our vehicle with stones and thrashing our driver. I threw my firecoat down and jumped off the vehicle. Since I was in civilian clothes, I somehow managed to save myself from the beating," he adds, going on to describe how the van then reached the safety of the brigade’s headquarters.
After the incident, Qadri explains that he and his men refused to return to the attack site until the authorities assured them of protection. It took one hour for a police escort to be arranged, allowing them to reach first Lunda Bazaar and then Denso Hall.