A fire at a chemical factory in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi killed at least 15 labourers, police and rescue officials said.
At least 15 bodies have been retrieved by rescuers from the factory building engulfed by the fire in the Mehran Town area of Karachi, the provincial capital of southern Sindh province, Muhammad Azeem, an official of the rescue department of the Edhi Foundation in Karachi, told Xinhua news agency.
He said at least two rescue personnel of Edhi Foundation were injured while trying to extinguish the fire on Friday night, adding that more labourers are still trapped inside the building as rescue efforts are underway.
The city’s Chief Fire Officer Mubeen Ahmed told local media that 13 fire tenders and a snorkel are being used to put out the blaze, adding that the fire broke out on the first floor of the building due to toxic chemicals.
Eyewitnesses in the area told Xinhua that more than 35 people were present in the factory when the fire erupted. They said the rescue teams are facing difficulties due to narrow streets and heavy smoke in the area.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. TV footage showed firefighters dousing the flames, as ambulances continued transporting victims to a government hospital.
Following the incident, police, rescue teams along fire brigade teams reached the scene and shifted the bodies and injured to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre in the city. The area has been cordoned off by the security forces.
Sindh Rangers personnel are also engaged in relief efforts with rescue teams.
Murtaza Wahab, a spokesman for the provincial government, told reporters that the firefighters had almost extinguished the fire. He said officers had been asked to investigate the cause and would also check whether the owner had installed fire extinguishing equipment.
Karachi is the capital of Sindh province, where many people have set up factories in residential areas in violation of building codes. In 2015, at least 30 people were killed when a factory collapsed in the city.
More than 250 labourers were killed when a fire broke out at a garment factory in Karachi in 2012.