More than 310 workers have been killed and several others injured in separate fire incidents at two factories in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore and the southern city of Karachi. The first incident took place on Tuesday after a fire broke out at a shoe factory in Lahore, killing nearly 30 workers and injuring many others. Tariq Zaman, a government official in the city, said the fire was caused by a faulty electricity generator.
In the southern port city of Karachi, a fire broke out at a five-story garment factory in the Baldia Town on Tuesday evening, killing more than 270 people and injuring several others.Karachi fire chief Ehtesham Salim said during the early hours of Wednesday that the death toll is likely to rise. Karachi officials say people were trapped inside the building as the only entrance and exit to the structure was through its garage where the fire broke out. “We are now searching in the basement and there are about 35 fire engines taking part in the firefighting. Most of the fire has been extinguished, but there is smoldering in some parts due to plastics and chemicals,” he added. Abdus Salam, a doctor at Karachi’s Civil Hospital, said about ten women were among the dead workers. Firefighters say the lack of proper escape routes contributed to the high death toll, as many people reportedly had to break though barred windows to escape the fire. The industry minister for Sindh Province, Rauf Siddiqi, said, “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.” SAB/HSN/SZH/JR/AZ