horrible tragedy, that should never have happened.
KARACHI: The fire that broke out in a Karachi industrial unit on Tuesday evening died down on Wednesday night but only after killing at least 258 people, including dozens of women and a number of members of same families.
The deadliest incident in the country’s industrial history raised many questions about safety standards and authorities’ role in treating labourers.
Dozens of workers escaped death by jumping from windows of the multi-storey factory building in one of the country’s largest industrial estates, Site, in densely-populated Baldia Town, before rescue organisations responded to their call for help.
Nearly 100 rescue personnel, including firefighters, battled for more than 24 hours only to retrieve the charred bodies from three floors and basement of the factory — Ali Enterprises — producing garments for export. “The cause of fire is not yet known,” said Salim Ehtasham, chief of the Karachi fire department. “We are focused on firefighting, finding if anyone alive inside and retrieving the bodies. Most of the people were found dead in the basement and on the first floor of the building. Bodies are charred beyond recognition and in some cases one can’t identify a victim’s gender.”
A senior official said the fire started from the basement and travelled to three other floors of the building. He said there were several emergency exits inside the building but all of them were locked permanently. More here.