Karachi, December 5 (AFP): At least 11 people were killed and 75 others injured when a huge fire erupted at Karachi’s Regent Plaza hotel early Monday, police and a doctor said.
The blaze broke out in the kitchen located at the ground floor of the four-star hotel located on the city’s Shahrah-i-Faisal, and swept through the building, trapping scores of hotel guests in their rooms.
Three trucks from the fire brigade reached the site and started an operation to rescue the guests.
The firefighters were able to contain the blaze after three hours, with 11 people having been killed, said a press release issued by the Saddar Police Station.
No fire exits?
Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar speaking to reporters outside the hotel said the cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained.
He said the hotel had “no fire exits or fire alarms”.
“We have received 11 dead bodies and 75 injured,” Dr Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency services at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, told AFP.
Amongst the injured were people who had fractured bones after jumping from hotel windows to escape, others had been hurt by shattered glass and many were treated for smoke inhalation, she said.
Many tried bed sheets to come down through the windows.
Jamali said six men, including three doctors and the hotel’s front desk manager, and five women were among the dead. Three foreigners affected by the fire are in a stable condition.
Most of the country’s buildings don’t meet safety standards to avoid such mishaps of this sort.
A man standing at a balcony kept waving for help but the hotel didn’t have any means to reach him, a survivor, Hamid Ali, told a local television channel. He said the guests were sleeping when the fire broke out.
“Trapped people showed courage and made ropes of bed sheets and came out one by one, many people have been injured,” hotel guest Saeed ur Rehman, himself wounded in the fire, told AFP.
(The featured image at the top shows people trying to climb down using tied up bedsheets)