Wed, September 12, 2012

Garments factory fire put out in Karachi, Pakistan

2012-09-12 06:51:32 GMT2012-09-12 14:51:32(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- A huge fire that broke out in a garments factory in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday evening has been put out after nearly 11 hours of hard efforts by fire fighters, announced Ehtishamuddin, Chief Fire Officer of Karachi, on Wednesday.

The fire erupted at about 6:00 p.m. local time in a garments factory building located in the Baldia Town area of west Karachi. Up till now, a total of 112 people have reportedly been killed in the fire.

Rescue workers believe that there are still som bodies trapped inside the badly burnt four-storeyed concrete factory building.

The building, after being burnt for more than 11 hours, could collapse at any moment, said rescue workers, adding that this could slow down the progress of the rescue work.

Local Urgu TV channel Geo said by quoting hospital sources that out of the 112 bodies recovered from the fire, 71 were shifted to Civil Hospital, 36 to Jinnah Hospital and five to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.

A number of women were also reportedly killed in the fire. There were an unknown number of women working inside the stitching section of the factory when the fire broke out, said survivors.

According to survivors, Tuesday was a payment day and hundreds of workers came to the factory to collect their salary. When the fire broke out, many rushed out, but there were still some 150 people trapped inside the building, they said.

The mangement of the factory forced workers to move out the goods instead of saving their lives, claimed some survivors.

There were only two exits inside the building and they were quickly blocked by heavy smoke and fire, said eyewitnesses.

The fire first broke out from the basement and then quickly spread to the other parts of the building, they said.

The cause of the fire is not known yet. But local media speculated that the fire could be triggered by short circuit caused by heavy rains that had battered the city for the last couple of days.

Local authorities concerned have been ordered to investigate into the case and submit a report within 24 hours.

Pakistani President Zardari expressed deep sorrow over the huge loss of the lives in the fire in a statement issued Wednesday morning. Prime Minister Ashraf, who is currently on a visit in China, also instructed the departments concerned to give the best medical treatment to the injured people.

Governor of Sindh Province with Karachi as its capital has announced a one-day mourning for the fire victims on Wednesday.

Industrial Minister of Sindh Province has ordered to sell the land of the factory and the proceeds generated from the sales would be given to the people affected.

Each of the killed and injured in the fire incident will get a compensation of 500,000 rupees (about 5,300 US dollars) and 200, 000 rupees (about 2,100 US dollars) respectively, announced the minister.

Police deparment of the city has put the name of the factory' s owner on the Exit-Control List, which will prevent him from fleeing the country, and a manhunt for the owner is already underway, said police.


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