At least 11 people were killed and more than 75 were injured on Monday after a fire broke out at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Karachi.
The blaze broke out in one of the ground floor kitchens of the Regent Plaza hotel and trapped scores of people in the upper floors of the hotel that has more than 400 rooms, English-language newspaper DawnNews,reported. .
TV footage showed the guests using a chain of bed sheets to climb down from windows of top floors as the entire hotel was filled with smoke. Three fire stations from the fire brigade reached the site and started an operation to rescue the guests.
Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar said the exact cause of the fire was still not clear. He told DawnNews that the hotel had "no fire exits or fire alarms". "We have received 11 dead bodies and 75 injured," Dr. Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency services at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, told AFP.
Chief Fire Office Tehseen Siddiqui said although the fire was not very intense and was contained "quite early", but the smoke kept circulating inside due to the air conditioning system. He also added that there was no exhaust inside the hotel and hence "most people suffocated to death". The authorities have evacuated the hotel completely as a part of safety measures.
A number of buildings in Pakistan have lax health and safety standards and the firefighters are often equipped with poor and inadequate equipment.
**This story is developing**