38 dead, 17 injured in fire at Karachi garment factory

Published: September 11, 2012
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Pakistani firefighters and rescuers work to evacuate a garment factory after a fire erupted inside on September 11, 2012 in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistani firefighters and rescuers work to evacuate a garment factory after a fire erupted inside on September 11, 2012 in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: At least 38 people, including six women and one child were killed and 17 others were  injured when a fire broke out at a garment factory on Hub River Road in Karachi, on Tuesday, Express News reported.

Three women who were in the factory when it caught fire, were injured when they tried to escape the building by jumping off the roof. Many others too had to jump from the building to escape the blaze.

According to SSP West, around 100 people were trapped inside the building as fire fighters try to put out the fire.

Fire officials said that they had managed to control fire in most parts of the factory and were now trying to recover bodies of the dead from the building.

Express News correspondent Nadeem Khan said that Metropolitan Commissioner Matanat Ali Khan said that there were at least 30-35 bodies were still inside the stricture.

Khan added that the factory structure, having been exposed to a sweltering blaze for over eight hours was now in a precarious condition with cracks appearing in its walls. He added that the building had sagged from one side and rescue officials too had warned that the building could collapse at any moment.

The fire had started between 5 and 6 pm in the evening after a short circuit. There were at least 500 workers in the garment factory at the time.

Fire officials have already declared the blaze to be of category three, the highest and most dangerous level of fire and all fire tenders in the city have been called to the site.

Chief Fire Officer Ehtishamuddin Siddiqui told The Express Tribune that some firefighters had managed to get inside the building and were trying to locate and rescue people trapped inside.

Meanwhile, firefighters said at least 25 people have been rescued so far while the injured have been shifted to the civil hospital for further treatment.

Sindh health minister has declared emergency in the civil hospital.

Commissioner Karachi has called for a case to be registered against the owners of the building.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • YP Toronto
    Sep 11, 2012 - 9:39PM

    Where is the Industrial Safety department? There will be same old excuses.

    Nothing will happen to factory owner.

    Human life has no value in Pakistan.

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  • Azi
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:47PM

    @YP Toronto:

    While I do agree with you on the fact that human life has no value in Pakistan, the responsible bodies are not only limited to management. The workers are also very incompetent and lazy. Taking time to read/ make sure safety precautions are in place is time wasted to them. With the current incompetence readily available on every position in industry, the county’s future seems dark.

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  • Fact
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:44PM

    Second fire in a day!! First in Lahore and now in Karachi..Condolences to family members

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  • Sir King Kong Bunty
    Sep 12, 2012 - 12:18AM

    Two major incidents in a single day does not look right.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Sep 12, 2012 - 12:42AM

    Factory owners earn money after putting the lives of workers at risk.

    The question arise: whether there was a fire fighting equipment in the factory?

    Did the workers told by the management of the factory how to use it?

    Why the old electricity wires were not checked and replaced by the factory management at the first instance to avoid such a deadly incident?

    What are the local government are doing? Why they did not go to a factory to inspect the premises if the factory is running according to the law, safety procedures etc.

    Again it is a matter of sheer criminal negligence.

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  • realist
    Sep 12, 2012 - 2:05AM

    So sorry to hear this. May God give strength to their near and dear ones. A similar incident (not a garment factory) happened in India too.

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  • YP Toronto
    Sep 12, 2012 - 3:08AM

    @Azi: couldn’t agree anymore.

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  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Sep 12, 2012 - 4:48AM

    What willl happen to Civil Defence Dept people who every year visit offices/factories for their “bhatta” and issue certificate.

    Some one in governemnt departments responsible for inspections should be suspended and put behind bars.
    Oh by the way has the owner already left for Dubai?/

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  • Mahakaalchakra
    Sep 12, 2012 - 5:12AM

    It sad to hear such tragic news which was avoidable. My heart goes out to the families of the innocent victims.

    India and Pakistan both severely lack fire detection and protection system in the residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Both should learn the progress made in this field in the west, especially USA where buildings are generally not made of fire-resistance materials such as bricks and concrete.. It is time both countries should make it mandatory to retrofit the old buildings with fire detection and protection systems and if needed, make building equipped with automatic sprinkler system to protect life and property. It will be money worth spent.

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  • LuvPak
    Sep 12, 2012 - 5:14AM

    It’s sad that so many people died due to the fire.
    Thanks goodness if we had a fire in Karachi for every bus that tumbles down from roads in Pakistan or crashes into illegally parked trailer that routinely kills as many people as there are victims of fire here, we would have at-least three to four fire of this size daily. Blaming the laborers of factory or passengers of a bus is total ignorance. It’s the first job of the premises Safety staff for accident prone activity not of the other professionals in the building. Actually that’s how we learn to implement city safety codes. Even Chicago, New York, London had similar fires, even though a while back, when they had industrial conditions like our. The City Manager need to hire more Safety Inspectors and the building owners need more Safety Staff. Due to needed professional fire fighting skills & high death rate and insurance complication, industrial world don’t expect or advice the employees for firefighting anymore, instead they are told to run for the door and help others do that.

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  • Raja
    Sep 12, 2012 - 9:24AM

    Why is the name of the factory not given?

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  • Hunnain
    Sep 12, 2012 - 10:45AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    Ok, before the incident owner might be contributing to the economy of Pakistan in terms of tax, employment, exports and what not….I think now the owner of the factory needs government help in this matter.
    Earlier he was generating employment in an economy and God knows how many families were fed, but now when out of no where there is a factory fire everyones against him,

    NOT FAIR PAKISTANIS, NOT FAIR

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  • Faisal
    Sep 12, 2012 - 12:25PM

    @YP Toronto:
    where is the insurance policy of the workers they are working there own risk

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  • Marium
    Sep 12, 2012 - 5:46PM

    @Hunnain:
    R u serious??? He would have contributed to our economy IF he wud’ve built the factory according to proper guidelines!! There were cracks in the walls already, no proper ventilation etc. He was earning money for his own sake cuz if he would have cared for people,he would have spent LIL money for their safety too!!

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