Pakistan

11 Dead, Many trapped as Fire Rages in Karachi Mall

A massive fire broke out at a multi-storey shopping mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi on Saturday morning, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 30 others, according to officials.

The fire, which started around 7am, engulfed the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the RJ Mall, where several shops and offices are located. The cause of the fire is not yet clear, but some sources said it might have been triggered by a short circuit or a gas leak.

Rescue teams, including fire brigade, police, Rangers and ambulances, rushed to the spot and launched a rescue operation to evacuate the people trapped inside the building. More than 20 people were rescued and shifted to nearby hospitals, where some of them are in critical condition.

However, many people are still feared to be trapped inside the mall, as the fire has not been completely extinguished despite the efforts of more than eight fire tenders and two snorkels. The fire brigade officials said that the fire was difficult to control due to the high intensity of the smoke and the lack of ventilation. They also said that the fire had spread to the basement, where several vehicles and inflammable items were parked.

The fire also caused panic and chaos in the area, as thick smoke filled the air and traffic was disrupted on the busy road. Some eyewitnesses said that the mall administration did not have adequate fire safety measures and equipment, and failed to respond quickly when the fire broke out. They also said that some people jumped from the windows of the building to save their lives.

The Sindh government has taken notice of the incident and ordered an inquiry into the cause and circumstances of the fire. The Caretaker Chief Minister of Sindh, Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar, expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of lives and directed the authorities to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.

The RJ Mall is one of the largest and most popular shopping malls in Karachi, which attracts thousands of customers every day. The mall was built in 2018 and has more than 200 shops and offices, as well as a cinema, a food court and a play area.

The incident has raised questions about the safety and security of the buildings and businesses in the city, where fire incidents are common due to poor maintenance, negligence and violation of rules and regulations.

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