(ISLAMABAD) — As many as 300 people were killed in a factory fire in Karachi, Pakistan, on Wednesday in what was believed to be the country’s worst-ever industrial accident.
The blaze swept through a textile factory in a northwestern suburb of the city as employees tried in vain to escape through locked doors and barred windows at the complex.
Authorities said the situation became so desperate that workers threw themselves off fourth-floor roofs, with many sustaining fatal or critical injuries from the falls.
Medical teams tending to the victims said that most of the dead were killed by smoke inhalation while many survivors suffered excruciating third-degree burns.
According to witnesses, two loud explosions were heard before smoke enveloped the factory where clothes and tools were made.
Once rescue and recovery efforts are completed, there will be an investigation into the fire and why there were so few exits available to the victims.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan complained, “The head of the firefighting operations in Karachi has noted that the factory was dangerous, flimsily built and had no emergency exits. Why did all of that escape official attention earlier?”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lorenzo D'Agostino and Hilary Clarke, CNN
KJ Kwon and Ben Westcott, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Billy Hallowell, Deseret News