News / Asia

Factory Fires Kill At Least 260 in Pakistan

People gather at the site of burnt garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, September 12, 2012.
People gather at the site of burnt garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, September 12, 2012.
VOA News
Fires broke out at two factories in Pakistan Tuesday, killing more than 260 people.

Pakistani officials say at least 236 people were killed in the southern port city of Karachi when a blaze ripped through a garment factory.  

The death toll rose throughout the day Wednesday as authorities pulled more bodies from the charred building.  Many of the dead were found in the factory's basement. Police officials say there were no emergency exits.

Injured workers said they were unable to find a way out and jumped out of windows to escape, suffering broken bones. Parts of the building were still smoldering hours after the fire.

A cause of the blaze is not immediately known. Police say they are searching for the factory's owners.

  • People comfort a woman who lost a family member in a garment factory fire, during a funeral in Karachi, Pakistan, September 13, 2012.
  • Pakistanis attend the funeral of factory workers in Karachi, Pakistan, September 13, 2012.
  • A rescue worker walks past covered bodies, killed during a fire at a garment factory, after they were brought to the Jinnah hospital morgue in Karachi, September 12, 2012.
  • A Pakistani woman mourns the death of her family member outside a mortuary in Karachi, Pakistan, September 12, 2012.
  • People gather near the site of burnt garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, September 12, 2012.
  • Pakistani rescuers collect evidence in a shoe-making factory following a fire which gutted the factory the previous night in Lahore, September 12, 2012.
  • Pakistani rescuers collect evidence in a shoe-making factory following a fire which gutted the factory the previous night in Lahore, September 12, 2012.
  • People gather as rescue work is in progress at a burnt garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, September 12, 2012.
  • Residents gather while firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a shoe factory in Lahore, September 11, 2012.
  • Rescue workers and residents recover a body from a building after a fire at a shoe factory in Lahore, September 11, 2012.

Karachi is Pakistan's most populous city and its commercial hub.

In the eastern city of Lahore, at least 25 people died Tuesday after being trapped inside a shoe factory.  Local officials say the blaze was caused by a faulty generator.

It took fire crews several hours to bring the fire under control and rescue workers trapped inside the burning building.

The incidents raised fresh concerns of workplace safety in Pakistan.  

Following the Karachi fire, ministers in Sindh province ordered inspections for all factories in the province.

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