At least 11 people were killed and 45 others injured when a huge fire erupted at Karachi’s Regent Plaza hotel early Monday, police said.
The blaze broke out in the kitchen located at the ground floor of the four-star hotel at the city’s Shahrah-i-Faisal, and swept through the building, trapping scores of hotel guests in their rooms.
Three fire tenders of the fire brigade reached the site and started an operation to rescue the guests. The firefighters were able to contain the fire after three hours, with 11 people having been killed, said a press release issued by Saddar Police Station.
Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar while speaking to reporters said the cause of the fire could not immediately ascertained.
He said the hotel had “no fire exits or fire alarms”.
At least 65 people affected by the fire were brought to the emergency department, said Dr Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency services at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre while talking to media.
Amongst those were people who had fractured bones after jumping from hotel windows to escape, others had been hurt by shattered glass and many were treated for smoke inhalation, she said.
She said 10 bodies had been brought into the hospital. Six men including three doctors and the hotel’s front desk manager, and four women are among the dead. Three foreigners affected by the fire are in a stable condition, said Jamali.
Most of the country’s buildings don’t meet safety standards to avoid such mishaps.
TV footage of the incident showed guests at the hotel using bedsheets to climb down from windows.
A man standing at a balcony kept waving for help but the hotel didn’t have any means to reach him, a survivor, Hamid Ali, told a TV channel. He said the guests were sleeping when the fire broke out.
‘Most people died due to suffocation’
Chief Fire Officer Tehseen Siddiqui told the media the hotel has been evacuated completely.
He said the blaze was not very intense and was contained “quite early” but the smoke kept circulating inside the hotel because the air conditioning system stayed on. There was no exhaust inside and due to this “most people suffocated to death”, Siddiqui said.
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