KARACHI: Four first-class cricketers, who play for UBL, were injured in the fire at the Regent Plaza yesterday.
A fire broke out at around 2:30am at the upscale hotel where the UBL team was staying for their match against HBL in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
As a result, Yasim Murtaza, Karamat Ali, Sohaib Maqsood and Gulraiz Sadaf all suffered injuries of varying degrees.
“We were sleeping when our rooms filled up with smoke, which woke us up. First I couldn’t understand why there was smoke — I thought my mobile charger had blown up — but then my roommate and teammate Mohammad Asghar opened the window and we saw the fire,” Sameen Gul told The Express Tribune.
“We immediately ran out and kept on going down the stairs till we were out on the road,” he said. “As me and Asghar came out, we looked for our teammates and saw people jumping out of their windows.”
Murtaza, who broke his ankle after jumping from his second-floor room, said he was woken up by the smell of something burning. “I woke up and switched on the light, and the room was full of smoke,” he said. We ran towards the door but the smoke was so thick we couldn’t see anything, so we came back into the room and broke the glass window with a chair and jumped down.”
Sadaf, in the same room as Murtaza, suffered several burns and deep cuts on his hands. “Murtaza jumped from the second floor to the first and then to the lobby area, while I used a rope to climb down, which ended up cutting and burning my skin,” he said.
There were other players on the fourth floor. “I ran towards the stairs but couldn’t see anything, so Adil Raza called me back and all of us jumped out the window. I cut my arms and feet as there were pieces of glass on the floor,” said Karamat Ali, who was sharing a room with Raza.
Sohaib Maqsood, who was also on the fourth floor, also helped save a family of four during his escape. “We woke up at 3:30am and tried to run outside but there was a lot of smoke out in the corridor and almost no oxygen, so we came back into the room, broke the glass and went down from there with the help of bed sheets. We also found a family with two kids and took them along with us,” he said.
Meanwhile, the match between UBL and HBL was abandoned on the request of UBL team manager Nadeem Khan. The teams shared the points, which led to HBL qualifying for the final with 16 to their name.
The other finalist will be decided today, with the winner of the match between WAPDA and SSGC going through. SSGC were on 298-7 in their first innings in reply to WAPDA’s 353 at stumps on day three. With the match almost certainly heading towards a draw, the side that ends up with a first-innings lead will qualify for the final against HBL.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2016.
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