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11 killed, scores wounded in Pakistan hotel fire

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A huge fire engulfed several floors at a multi-storey hotel in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Monday, killing 11 people and wounding dozens of others, officials and rescue personnel said.

“Most deaths at the Regent Plaza Hotel in downtown Karachi occurred due to suffocation after the fire broke out early in the morning when guests were asleep, the city’s mayor,’’ Wasim Ahmed, said.

Ahmed said four women were among the dead while players from a regional cricket team jumped out of windows, some of whom suffered fractured limbs.

Doctor Seemi Jamali said no fewer than 65 people including foreign nationals were being treated at the city’s Jinnah Hospital.

Police official Nadeem Khan said an initial probe suggested an electric short-circuit might have caused the fire but an investigation was underway.

Faisal Edhi, head of the Edhi Rescue Services, said that all the guests trapped on the top floor of the hotel have been rescued.

Mayor Ahmed told newsmen that lack of emergency exits on some floors and unmarked ones on the others aggravated the situation.

Fires at commercial buildings like hotels, factories and shopping malls cause numerous deaths in Pakistan every year because safely protocols are rarely followed.

In 2012, over 250 labourers were killed by a blaze at a garment factory in Karachi in an incident that drew a huge international focus on workers’ safety. (dpa/NAN)

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