KARACHI  -   At least five people were killed and 20 injured in an explosion in a four-storey building near Karachi’s Maskan Chowrangi on Wednesday.

Rescue and police teams rushed the scene and started rescue operation after shifting the dead and injured to the hospital. Three of the injured were said to be in serious condition. The Rangers personnel also arrived at the scene and cordoned off the whole area. They also called in the bomb disposal squad.

However, the police indicated that the preliminary inquiry suggested that the blast was caused by a gas cylinder but they were still trying to ascertain the actual cause of the explosion. The Mubina Town SHO said that it seemed like a cylinder blast and that the bomb disposal squad was at the spot to ascertain the cause behind the explosion.

Officials believed, the blast occurred on the second floor of the building as eyewitness accounts stated that the windows of nearby buildings, and even some vehicles passing by, also got damaged due to the impact.

The explosion was reported in the four-storey Allah Noor Apartments building in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. The apartments were opposite to the Karachi University gate. Part of the building was razed to the ground due to the blast intensity. The explosion was so severe that the windowpanes of the nearby buildings were also reportedly broken.

Rescue and police officials were trying to remove the debris to find any survivors and there were fears that some people might have been stuck under rubble. The ground floor had a bank and businesses while residential apartments were located on the upper stories. Staff were already at the bank when the blast took place.

Injured people were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Some people were injured when rubble from the building fell on them.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah summoned a report into the incident. The Sindh IGP also called for details from the SSP East about the blast.

Chief Secretary (CS) Sindh Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah also taking notice of an explosion in a building of Gulshan-e-Iqbal, has sought a report of the incident from Commissioner Karachi. He directed the Secretary Health to provide immediate medical assistance to the injured persons.

A team of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) also rushed to the blast site to inspect the damaged building. The building was evacuated on SBCA’s suggestion. The SBCA officials were of the view that there was a possibility that the pillars of the building might get weaker after the blast.

A massive blast in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal area this morning, which resulted in the death of five people and injuries to more than a dozen, was caused by a gas leak, the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) said in a report.

Citing an initial investigation, the BDS said that it couldn’t find any evidence from the spot suggesting that the explosion was caused by explosive material.

The incident took place in a building near Abul Hassan Asfahani road Gulshan Iqbal, leaving a portion of the four-storey building collapse. Loud blast rocked the area in the morning and impact of the explosion shattered windowpanes of the nearby buildings, according to witnesses.

Two floors and two shops in a portion of the building have demolished.

Among 20 injured seven to eight said to be in a precarious condition. A traffic police official, who was on duty at the road, also said to be seriously injured in the explosion.

According to reports, 15 injured of the incident and three bodies have been shifted to a nearby private hospital, while three injured to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and one to the Jinnah Hospital. The explosion also damaged three cars and six motorbikes.