By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, (AA): At least 11 people were killed and 75 injured in a fire at a Karachi hotel early Monday, officials said.
The blaze engulfed the four-star Regent Plaza hotel in the city’s downtown after breaking out in the kitchen on the ground floor, Chief Fire Officer Tahseen Ahmed said.
Dr. Seemi Jamali, head of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, said 11 bodies and 75 injured were brought to the hospital. The dead included three doctors staying at the hotel for a medical symposium.
She said many were hurt as they jumped to safety, including Pakistan cricket player Yasim Murtaza. Other injuries were caused by broken glass and smoke inhalation.
TV footage showed guests using bed sheets to try to escape their rooms after the blaze broke out at around 3 a.m. local time (2200GMT).
The cause of the fire had not been determined, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar said. He added that the hotel had “no fire exits or fire alarms”, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Poor safety standards have contributed to similar disasters in the past. More than 250 workers were killed in 2012 when a massive fire swept through a garment factory in Karachi.
[Photo: People react to the death of their family members following a fire at a hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.
Photographer: Muhabiri Sabir Mazhar/AA]