At least four firefighters were killed and 14 others injured on Thursday when a massive fire destroyed a textile factory here in Pakistan's southern port city, officials said.
The blaze in the factory, located in the heavily populated industrial area in New Karachi, was caused by a short circuit, Central District Deputy Commissioner (DC) Taha Saleem said. He added that further investigation was underway.
Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori confirmed that four firefighters lost their lives while putting out the fire in the factory making bed sheets and towels.
The blaze broke out early in the morning, and eight fire engines rushed to the scene to control it, Saleem said. He added that the firefighters were killed when the building collapsed while they were still in it.
At least 14 people were also injured after coming under the building's debris and suffering from suffocation and burn wounds.
The fire broke out in the early hours of the day in the bed sheets factory, located in a six-storey building, and quickly spread to four floors because of cloth material and other chemicals stored in the building, senior firefighter Adil Khanzada said.
Another fire erupted in an adjoining factory building which manufactured motorcycle spare parts, and firefighters were trying to control the blaze, the official added.
“Eight fire engines are again at the spot after we had controlled and put out the blaze in the clothes factory which is adjacent to this building," Khanzada said.
“The firefighters were bravely performing their duties when the building collapsed," Deputy Commissioner Saleem said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed sorrow over the deaths of firefighters, describing them as “martyrs.” In a statement, he conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims.
Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and economic hub, has four major industrial areas but small factories continue to operate near congested, low-income neighbourhoods with lax security and safety measures in place for the workers.
In 2021, at least 16 factory workers suffocated to death in a fire at an industrial unit of a clothes and chemicals factory in the Korangi Area of Karachi.
In one of Pakistan's most tragic fire incidents, around 260 people, mostly workers, were killed when a massive fire broke out in a clothes factory in Karachi’s Baldia Town in 2012.
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