Two children were killed on Sunday in a fireworks blast in Khangarh Colony in Muzaffargarh.
Two other children and a man were severely injured and taken to a hospital, where they were said to be in critical condition.
Rescue officials said that Muhammad Younas, a resident of Tauheedabad, had been manufacturing fireworks at a workshop he had set up at his house.
On Sunday, they said, while he was working in the workshop, one of the boxes caught fire causing an explosion. They said the fire spread quickly engulfing the entire house within minutes.
They said four siblings, who lived next door, had come over to play with Younas’s maid. They said the children went up to the second floor, where Younas was working. Rescuers said the entire floor was gutted due to the explosion. They said the fire also spread in the house.
Two of the children, identified as Usama Asghar, 10, and Kashif Asghar, 12, were burnt and died on the spot. Their sisters Sania Asghar, 8, and Sonia Asghar, 6, and Younas were severely injured.
They were taken to Khangarh rural health centre in a Rescue 1122 ambulance. The doctor at the centre later referred them to the burn unit at Nishtar Hospital in Multan. Doctors treating them said that they were in critical condition. They all had more than 50 per cent burns.
Rescuers said Younas’s maid was downstairs at the time of the explosion and remained safe. She had run out of the house on hearing the explosion.
Muhammad Shahid, a neighbour, said that this was the fourth fireworks accident in the area. He said police had visited the area every time, but did not act against fireworks businesses operating in the residential area.
Khangarh Station House Officer Qaisar Hussain told The Express Tribune that he had taken charge of the area in July. He said he had asked residents about major issues in the area, but no one had mentioned fireworks workshops.
“Had I been informed, I would have acted in this regard,” he said.
He said an FIR had been registered on the complaint of the father of the deceased children.
He said initial investigations had revealed three people had died last year in a fireworks explosion in a house owned by Abdul Jabbar, brother of Younas. He said police teams would raid the neighbourhood and other areas to locate any illegal businesses.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2013.