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11 killed in fire in Karachi shopping mall, several feared trapped

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11 killed in fire in Karachi shopping mall, several feared trapped

Karachi: A massive fire tore through a shopping mall in Pakistan’s Karachi city on Saturday, killing at least 11 people and injuring six, officials said.

The fire that broke out at around 7 am on the second floor engulfed the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the shopping mall, but it was not clear what caused it.

Twelve fire tenders, a snorkel and around 50 firefighters were called to control the fire and rescue around 42 people in the building.

Chief Fire Officer Mubin Ahmed said that 11 people were killed and six injured in the blaze mostly due to smoke inhalation and panic as the electricity to the building had to be cut off to control the blaze.

“Our teams are searching for anyone still in the building but we rescued 42 people, all males who were present when the fire broke out around 7 am this morning,” he told PTI.

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Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab confirmed that nine persons were killed in the fire but Police official Summaya Syed said that so far 11 bodies have been brought to two hospitals.

Nine were brought to Jinnah Hospital while 2 others were taken to Civil Hospital, she said, adding that the condition of 6 of those rescued was critical.

Mubin said they were still investigating the reason for the fire but just earlier this week, city planners and engineers at a seminar said they were sure some 90 per cent of structures in Karachi — residential, commercial and industrial — did not have fire prevention and firefighting systems.

They agreed that it was “criminal negligence” on the part of regulatory bodies like the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) that put the lives of millions of people in the metropolis at risk.

A senior police official of the area, Raja Tariq said the building was a commercial high-rise that housed shopping centres, call centres and software houses.

A statement from the Fire and Rescue spokesperson said the fire had since been controlled and the cooling process was now underway.

Tariq said last year also a smaller fire broke out in the same mall but was controlled quickly and was caused by short-circuiting.

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