Fire kills 11 in hotel in Pakistan’s Karachi

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A fire at a four-star hotel in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi has left dozens of casualties.

At least 11 people were killed and some 75 others suffered injuries in the blaze at the Regent Plaza Hotel on Monday morning, police officer Tauqeer Naeem said.

He said the exact cause of the fire, which started in the hotel kitchen, was not known yet.

The kitchen was located at the ground floor, and the blaze swept through the building after it started, trapping scores of hotel guests in their rooms on the upper floors.

Video footage of the inferno aired on local TV showed hotel guests using bed sheets to climb down from upper floor windows.

Seemin Jamali, a doctor at Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital, said aside from burns, some of those injured had fractured bones after jumping from hotel windows to escape. Others, she said, had been hurt by shattered glass, and many were treated for smoke inhalation.

Jamali, who is the head of the emergency ward at the hospital, also said some foreigners were among those being treated for burns, according to media.

Karachi’s Mayor Waseem Akhtar told reporters that the hotel had “no fire exits or fire alarms.”

Chief Fire Officer Tehseen Siddiqui said the fire was contained “quite early” but the smoke kept circulating inside the hotel because the air conditioning system stayed on and there was no exhaust inside. A number of guests suffocated to death in their sleep, according to local media.

Most buildings in Pakistan do not meet safety standards to avoid such accidents.

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