KARACHI - At least five people were killed and eight injured after a fire broke out in a three-storey building in the Karachi’s Hijrat Colony area on Saturday.

According to rescue sources, five people, including two women and a minor, were killed after a fire erupted in Hijrat Colony.

Rescue workers and police rushed to the scene soon after the incident was reported but faced difficulty in carrying out the rescue operation due to narrow streets. However, they managed to extinguish the flames after a two hour-long operation.

According to a statement by Civil Lines police, eight others were also injured in the fire. The deceased and the injured were all shifted to Civil Hospital, the statement added.

It added that a police constable, Naeem Gujjar, was taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) after his condition deteriorated during the rescue operation due to inhaling smoke. Rescue officials said one of the injured saved his life by jumping from the first floor of the building.

Speaking to media Deputy Commissioner South Irshad Ali Sodhar said initial investigations suggested the incident occurred due to a short circuit. “Apparently, this looks like a short circuit.”

He added that the deceased had presumably died of suffocation after inhaling smoke from the fire.

“The incident took place early morning and it took 15 to 20 minutes to [mobilise the response] so I think the victims died due to suffocation. Three of the deceased didn’t have any burn injuries.”

He added that other families were evacuated in time and authorities were in the process of arranging shelter for them. Sodhar said the government would give compensation to the families of the deceased. Commenting on reports of an illegal factory on the first floor of the building, the DC said, “If someone has made a storeroom in their home, nobody would have any knowledge of that. They are saying it was a storeroom for clothes. But we have not found any evidence of a factory.”

According to the fire brigade officials, there is also a hotel on the ground floor of the building but the fire broke out in the cushion factory located on the first floor, which then spread to the entire building.

Residents of the locality said that 24 people, comprising four families, were living inside the building when it caught fire. 

The fire has been contained and the cooling process is underway, officials added.

 

Two days ago, a multi-storey residential building collapsed in Karachi’s Korangi area. The death toll rose to four on Friday after three more bodies of the same family were recovered from the debris.