11 killed, 75 in­jured in ho­tel fire

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Karachi

A pre-dawn in­ferno at a four-star ho­tel in Karachi killed 11 peo­ple on Monday and wounded 75, po­lice said, with des­per­ate guests jump­ing from win­dows and scram­bling down knot­ted bed­sheets to es­cape.

The blaze at the Re­gent Plaza Ho­tel in the cen­ter of the port city broke out when many guests were still asleep, with a lack of fire alarms and emer­gency ex­its leav­ing many trapped in their rooms.

At least two Pak­istani in­ter­na­tional crick­eters were among the guests, one-day­ers So­haib Maq­sood and Ham­mad Azam, though they were not be­lieved to be se­ri­ously in­jured.

“The ho­tel had no fire safety sys­tem and no fire exit to evac­u­ate peo­ple, they had no fire alarm,” Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar told re­porters at the site.

“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, said.

Guests were left help­less, he said, for hours. Po­lice have said it took up to three hours to bring the fire un­der con­trol.

“We have re­ceived 11 dead bod­ies and 75 in­jured, four women were among the dead,” said Semi Ja­mali, a doc­tor at Karachi’s Jin­nah hospi­tal.

Many of the vic­tims had suffered from smoke in­hala­tion or suf­fo­cated, Ja­mali said, but oth­ers had cuts or frac­tures suffered as they leapt from the eight-story ho­tel’s up­per floors to safety.

Some trapped by the spread­ing blaze had knot­ted bed­sheets to­gether in a des­per­ate at­tempt to climb out from their rooms, with the makeshift ropes seen dan­gling from win­dows at the site.

Po­lice Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Saqib Me­mon con­firmed the death toll and said the cause of the fire was not clear, with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion launched.

Build­ing fires in Pak­istan are of­ten caused by faulty wiring or elec­tri­cal short-cir­cuits.

The ho­tel had no fire safety sys­tem and no fire exit to evac­u­ate peo­ple, they had no fire alarm.” Waseem Akhtar, Karachi mayor

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