South Asia

Chemical factory fire in Pakistan kills trapped workers

Published : August 28, 2021 13:59 IST

The multi-story factory building is located in the congested Mehran Town neighborhood. Photo: Ikram Suri/AP Photo/picture alliance

A massive blaze broke out at a multi-story chemical factory in Pakistan's financial hub Karachi, killing many workers who were trapped inside the building.

A fire at a chemical factory in the southern city of Karachi killed at least 16 people on August 27, Pakistani authorities said. Local media footage showed thick smoke billowing out from the factory while firefighters tried to put out the flames.

The multi-story factory building is located in the congested Mehran Town neighborhood in the eastern part of the city. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

Fire accidents not uncommon in Pakistan

Most windows of the factory were blocked, fire officials said. Many factory workers died after being trapped inside the building and couldn't find a way out. "The factory had only one entry point, which was also being used as exit, and the roof exit was blocked, which badly hampered rescue efforts," Mubeen Ahmed, chief fire officer of the fire department, told local TV channel Geo.

Murtaza Wahab, a spokesman for the provincial government, told reporters that the firefighters had almost extinguished the blaze. He said an investigation into the cause of the accident was ongoing.

This is not the first such accident in Pakistan, where many factories operate without putting in place proper fire safety measures. In September 2012, over 260 workers lost their lives in a fire accident at a textile manufacturing unit in what became the deadliest industrial blaze in the nation's history.

sri/mm (AP, Reuters)