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Pakistan

Hotel fire in Karachi kills 11: Pakistani police

An early morning fire in a four-star hotel in the southern port city of Karachi has killed at least 11 people. At least 65 were injured in the blaze.

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Deadly fire sweeps through 4-star hotel in Pakistan

A massive fire that broke out in a ground floor kitchen of the Regent Plaza Hotel killed at least 11 people on Monday in the south Pakistani port city of Karachi.

At least 65 people, including foreign nationals, were being treated at Jinnah Hospital, doctor Seemi Jamali said.

Although the exact cause of the fire is not yet known, an initial probe suggested an electric short circuit might have caused the fire, police official Nadeem Khan said. An investigation is currently underway.

Dr. Semi Jamali at Karachi's Jinnah's Hospital said the injured, among them some foreigners, were being treated for burns. However, suffocation caused more deaths in the blaze.

Local television footage showed guests climbing down from windows with a chain of bed sheets. A survivor told a local TV channel that guests were sleeping when the fire broke out. Smoke filled the hotel and trapped guests in upper floors.

Pakistan Brand in Regent Plaza Hotel in Karatschi (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Khan)

Guests used chains of bedsheets to try escaping the smoke

"We tied the bed sheets together to make a rope, and used that to climb down from the fourth floor," said Khalid Mehmood, one of the injured, speaking from his hospital bed. "We also had to jump mid-way, as the bed sheets weren't long enough."

Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar told reporters that the hotel had "no fire exits or fire alarms," reported the English-language Dawn newspaper.

Four women were among the dead while players from a regional cricket team suffered fractured limbs after jumping out of the windows, Akhtar added.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze after three hours.

Fires at commercial buildings like hotels, factories and shopping malls cause numerous deaths in Pakistan every year as safety standards and protocols are rarely followed.

rs, kbd/cmk (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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