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100 die in Pakistan as two factories go up in flames

Islamabad(IANS): At least 100 people were killed in Pakistan when fire engulfed two factories, one in Karachi and the other in Lahore, a media report said Wednesday. A day after the blaze, dozens were still trapped in the burning buildings.

On Tuesday afternoon, a blaze enveloped a shoe factory in the eastern city of Lahore, killing 25. A few hours later on Tuesday evening, fire broke out in a garments factory in the port city of Karachi.

The toll in the factory fire in Baldia Town locality crossed 75 Wednesday morning while dozens of workers are still trapped inside, Geo News reported. Firefighters are struggling to douse the flames.

Provincial Minister for Health Sagheer Ahmed said that 31 people were injured. Women and children are also among the dead and injured. All the firefighting force in Karachi had been marshalled to fight the blaze. At least 40 fire tenders were busy dousing it.

Snorkels were being used to bring the people down from the roof of the factory, which turned into a ball of fire. Dozens of the workers, who became desperate after getting trapped in the factory, jumped out to save their lives.

Sources said around 2,000 people are employed at the 2,000 square-yard garment factory. In the second major fire incident, at least 25 people died after a fire broke out in shoe sole making factory in Lahore.

The owner of the factory and his son were among the dead. Forty-five people were at work when the fire engulfed the factory located in a narrow-street. The inaccessible location of the factory made it difficult for the firefighters to douse the flames and rescue those trapped inside.

Rescuers had to punch holes through the walls and shatter the windows to enter the building to get the injured out. An official said an electric generator explosion set the chemicals and plastic granules on fire.

Zahid, a doctor, said 18 workers died, most of them owing to third-degree burns and the rest from inhaling poisonous fumes. Several cottage industries that operate out of residential houses are located in the Band Road area of Lahore.

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