Pakistan fires kill hundreds; lax safety blamed
KARACHI, Pakistan – Fires at two clothing factories in Pakistan left 283 people dead – many trapped behind locked doors and barred windows. The tragedies highlight workplace perils in a country where many buildings lack basic safety equipment and owners often bribe officials to ignore violations.
The blazes broke out Tuesday night at a garment factory in the southern port city of Karachi and a shoe manufacturer in the eastern city of Lahore. At least 258 people died in the fire in Karachi, where rescue workers still were searching Wednesday for bodies in the charred building. Another 25 perished in Lahore.
Panicked workers in Karachi had only one way out because the factory’s owner had locked all the other exit doors in response to a recent theft, officials said. Many victims suffocated in the smoke-filled basement.
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