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Fire at Chemical Factory in Karachi Kills 17

by Newsweek Pakistan

Screengrab of news coverage of the fire at the Karachi factory

Authorities say probe underway to determine cause of blaze

At least 17 people died on Friday after a fire broke out at a chemical factory in Karachi, with health officials saying the majority appeared to have lost their lives due to inhalation of smoke.

Korangi Deputy Commissioner Samiullah Odho told local media that 17 bodies had been recovered from the factory’s premises thus far. He said that the recovery operation had been concluded, adding there had been no further reports about people trapped within the rubble. Chief Fire Officer Mubeen Ahmed added that firefighters had swept the area twice to ensure there were no bodies trapped in the rubble, stressing that all the deceased had been recovered.

Meanwhile, officials at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center confirmed receiving 16 bodies. They said 12 of the deceased had been identified and handed to their families, while the process to ascertain the identity of the remaining four was underway.

Authorities have not yet identified any cause for the blaze but have sealed the factory pending the completion of a probe.

According to the deputy commissioner, a preliminary briefing on the rescue operation was provided to Karachi administrator Murtaza Wahab. Rebuffing claims from some eyewitnesses that firefighters had reached the site late, he stressed that the blaze was brought under control in a timely manner.

Wahab, later in the day, met families of the deceased and assured them that the Sindh government would ensure justice. He said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had taken notice of the incident and sought a report from the Karachi commissioner and Labor Department on how the fire started.

The chief minister also issued orders for authorities to extend full support to the bereaved families and for the injured to be provided the best possible treatment.

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