3 workers die in massive fire at Karachi industrial unit, police claim criminal negligence of factory owners

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Karachi [Pakistan], February 11 (ANI): At least three workers were burnt to death following a huge fire that broke out in an industrial unit in Karachi’s Baldia Town on Wednesday, said officials and witnesses. The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) fire chief and police believe ‘criminal negligence’ of the factory owners was behind the tragedy.
According to Dawn, the factory management blamed the delayed response of the fire brigade for the deaths, while the fire chief and police cited criminal negligence of the factory owners behind the incident as the industrial unit was constructed like a “prison” and without provision of emergency exits purportedly to prevent thefts.
Workers at the factory of Al-Makkah fabrics told reporters that the blaze that erupted on the ground floor rapidly engulfed three other storeys of the building. One of the victims reportedly died while trying to save other trapped workers.
The factory owner, Imran, told media the loss of lives could have been prevented if the fire tenders had reached on time, while admitting that the building was enclosed with high walls to prevent theft.
However, the chief fire officer, Mobin Ahmed, denied charges of a delayed response and said there was no emergency exit in the building, Dawn reported.
To corroborate the officer’s statements, Medina Colony Station House Officer Saleem Rind said that the ground-plus-three storeys factory was spread over 600 square yards and looked like “a prison” with huge walls and only one gate. He said even the windows were covered with grills so thick “even a sparrow could not enter them”.
Even if the grills had been broken, the firemen could not have rescued the trapped workers, Rind said, adding that legal proceedings will be initiated against the factory owners over criminal negligence and loss of human lives.
The deceased were identified as Ali Sher Hyderi, Mohammed Kazim, 21, and Fayaz, 20. Police were waiting for the deceased’s relatives to lodge an FIR.
Dawn reported that Pakistan has a dismal industrial safety record, with deadly incidents taking place regularly in the country.
In 2012, more than 260 workers were burnt alive in the multi-storey building of the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Baldia Town in what is known as the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history. (ANI)

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