As many as 290 people have been killed and several injured in a fire that swept through a four-storey garment factory in Pakistan's largest city Karachi, Pak media reported on Wednesday citing officials.
Rescue teams were still trying to gain access to parts of the gutted factory where the fire broke out late on Tuesday night. The death toll is likely to rise further as many of the injured are in critical condition, city police chief Iqbal Mahmood said.
Rescuers used arc lights to work through the night and retrieve the charred bodies. Among the dead were ten women. Crane lifts were used to rescue a few workers trapped in the factory's upper floors, while jumped out of windows breaking their bones. Firefighters battled the blaze throughout the night as it smoldered until Wednesday morning.
Officials say about 400 people were inside the factory when the fire broke out, and almost all of them are feared to have been trapped because the doors were locked.
An investigation was on to find out the cause of the fire said to be the biggest in recent times in the port city. "We have ordered an inquiry into how the fire erupted and why proper emergency exits were not provided at the factory so that the workers could escape," Provincial Industry Minister Rauf Siddiqui was quoted in media reports as saying.
Also on Tuesday, a fire broke out at a shoe factory in Lahore, capital of the Punjab province, in which more than 20 people perished, the reports said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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