KARACHI -- At least 11 people, including three women, were killed and 75 others injured on Monday when a huge fire here ripped through a four-star hotel, the fourth blaze to hit Pakistan's largest city in the last two weeks.
The blaze broke out in the kitchen located at the ground floor of the Regent Plaza hotel at the city's Shahrah-i- Faisal and spread across the six-floor building, trapping nearly 100 hotel guests in their rooms.
Three fire tenders of the fire brigade reached the site and started an operation to rescue the guests. The firefighters were able to contain the fire after three hours, with 11 people having been killed, said Faisal Edhi of the Edhi Foundation.
Mayor of Karachi Waseem Akhtar visited the site of the incident and while talking to media, he said the fire has been contained but the cause of the fire could not be determined as of yet. He said rescue work was hampered due to absence of an emergency exit and spread of heavy smoke.
At least 75 people affected by the fire were brought to the emergency department, Dr Seemin Jamali, head of the emergency services at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre was quoted as saying by Dawn.
Amongst those were people who had fractured bones after jumping from hotel windows to escape, others had been hurt by shattered glass and many were treated for smoke inhalation, she said.
She said 11 bodies had been brought into the hospital.
Four women are among those killed. Three foreigners affected by the fire are in a stable condition, said Jamali.
The rescue operation has not ended, and some people are still reportedly trapped inside the hotel. The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained.
Pakistan cricketer Sohaib Maqsood was present in the hotel at the time of the incident.
Another cricketer Yasin Murtaza jumped from the second floor to the ground and fractured his ankle. Karamat Ali was injured by broken glass, according to sources.
Chief Fire Officer Tehseen Siddiqui said that the blaze was contained as it was not very intense and all guests had been evacuated from the hotel.
"Since the smoke kept circulating most of those who died or were injured was due to suffocation but we could contain the fire quickly as the air conditioning system kept on working," he said.
Television footages showed desperate guests trying to escape from their balconies while used bed sheets to climb down from windows.
Karachi, the biggest city of Pakistan, has seen a series of fire incidents in recent weeks. This is the fourth major fire to break out in the city in the last two weeks.
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