Rest of Asia

16 killed, several missing in Pakistan factory fire

Filed on August 27, 2021
Rescue workers transport an injured person after recovering him from a burnt chemical factory, in Karachi. Photo: AP

More than 25 labourers were inside the factory in a Karachi residential area

At least 16 workers died and more were missing after a factory fire in Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi on Friday, police said.

More than 25 labourers were inside the small factory in a residential area of the port city when the blaze broke out, causing it to fill with thick smoke.

"We have recovered 16 bodies so far," senior police officer Shahjehan Khan told AFP.

"We are trying to recover more stranded people but I fear they might not make it out," Khan said, adding the factory had no proper fire exits.

"The stairs leading to the roof were locked, otherwise the labourers could have survived by running to the rooftop," Khan said.

Karachi city administrator Murtaza Wahab also said there was no safe exit for the workers.

Poor industrial laws and building codes in Pakistan mean factory blazes are frequent.

In 2012 at least 250 labourers for a garment factory died in Baldia Town in western Karachi when a fire engulfed the facility and there was no fire escape.

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