LAHORE  - A 36-year-old laborer, his wife, and two sons were found suffocated to death in their small rented house in the congested Mughalpura area, police said on Wednesday.

Rescue workers say Haider Ali, his 30-year-old wife Yasmin, and two sons identified as six-year-old Anas and four-year-old Hassan died of suffocation caused by gas leakage during load shedding.

Gas supply is suspended in Lahore, during the night hours in winter owing to country wide gas shortage.

A rescue official said that, it seemed all the four family members went to sleep in the same bedroom without switching off the gas heater. When gas supply was restored on Wednesday morning, the heater started leaking gas. As a result, all the family members died of suffocation.

Meanwhile, the wife of the house owner noticed gas leakage as she visited the house in the morning to see her renters. The bedroom was locked from inside, said a police officer, who examined the site. She immediately contacted the police and rescue workers by phone.

The rescuers reached the spot and launched the operation to pull out the victims from the bedroom after breaking the door. “All four family members were found dead death,” an official said. 

Local residents told reporters that the ill-fated family had migrated to Lahore from Karachi just two months ago. They took a one-room apartment on rent in Mughalpura. 

The police handed over the bodies to the heirs of the deceased without autopsy after fulfilling legal formalities.

At the beginning of winter, the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) authorities launch an awareness campaign in the local media to educate the users on usage of gas and its precaution.

Despite that such tragedies continue to pop up in big cities like Lahore. The citizens, however, have appealed to the authorities to ensure a widespread awareness campaign to educate the masses particularly about the usage of gas heaters to avoid such happenings.

They also demanded the government to release the gas load management plan on regular basis.