Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Karachi, Pakistan Luxury Hotel Leaves at Least 11 Dead, 110 Wounded

Regent Plaza Hotel following a pre-dawn fire in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Monday

(Photo : YouTube Screenshot) Regent Plaza Hotel following a pre-dawn fire in Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Monday.

At least 11 people were suffocated to death and over 110 were injured when a fire emblazed Karachi's four-star Regent Plaza Hotel at 03:00 a.m. on Monday.

According to hotel sources, the fire broke out in the kitchen of Jharooka and Almas restaurants that is located in the basement of the hotel. The smoke spread out across the six-floor building through the air conditioning ducts, which trapped over 100 hotel guests in their rooms.

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The ceilings of the lobby, mezzanine, and ground floors were made of thermapool sheets, which caught fire quite quickly and spread it, GeoTV's source said. They also added that it was initially a short circuit, but the hotel has no proper fire alarm system on top of a lack of fire drill conducted since the last two months.

The standard operating procedure of any luxury hotel or restaurant is to have fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, air ducts, and two emergency exits all on each floor. The mayor of Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, visited the site of the incident and said rescue work was hampered because of absence of an emergency exit and spreading of heavy smoke.

Firefighters contained the blaze of the Regent Plaza Hotel at the city's Shahrah-e-Faisal's area after over three hours with the help of three fire tenders.

According to Dr. Seemi Jamali, Executive Director at the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Complex (JPMC), among those injured were people who had fractured bones after jumping from hotel windows to escape, others had been hurt by shattered glasses, and many were treated for smoke inhalation.

She confirmed that at least 11 bodies, including four women, were brought to the morgue, and 30 of the wounded are in critical condition after suffering from asphyxiation.

Among the injured are foreigners staying at the hotel including some Chinese officials, four cricketers of the United Bank Limited (UBL) team who are currently in Karachi for the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Super Eight tournament against Habib Bank Limited (HBL), and 16 Pakistan International Airlines cabin crew members.

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

Forensic evidences have been collected from the hotel and will be tested in laboratory. So far, the evidence gathered directed to accidental fire and not a terrorist act, DIG South Azad Khan confirmed.

This is the fourth fire incident to occur in Pakistan's largest and most populous city in the last two weeks.

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