Tragedy struck a family of six in the Kashmir Colony neighbourhood on Tuesday when their house was engulfed in flames. Four of them were burnt to death, while two others were hospitalised with severe burns. Police are yet to verify the cause of the fire.
A Mehmoodabad police official said that a labourer named Fayyaz lived with his wife and six children in a rented single-room flat in a triple-storey building. Quoting the neighbours, he said the locals had been using gas cylinders due to a gas shortage in the area for the past 10 days or so, adding that a fire erupted shortly after a loud explosion occurred in Fayyaz’s house.
The official said that the neighbours first tried to put out the fire on their own, but then they informed the fire brigade and the police about the incident.
Rescue workers pulled out Fayyaz, his wife and a daughter out of the house. They also retrieved the bodies of three other children. All of them were taken to the burns ward of the Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi.
Fayyaz, 40, succumbed to his injuries during treatment. The deceased children were identified as Salman, 7, Hamza, 3, and Omaima, 1. The other victims are Fayyaz’s wife Saeeda, 35, and their daughter Sania, 5. Doctors said Saeeda had suffered 100 per cent burns and was unlikely to recover.
Mehmoodabad SHO Ejaz Pathan said that according to their initial investigation, the gas cylinder had not exploded, because they found it intact, so maybe the fire broke out due to a short circuit. He said they were investigating the case from all the different possible angles.
Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani also reached the scene of the incident. He admitted on the occasion that there was indeed a gas shortage in the area.
However, he said that the actual cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained. He also said that the incident occurred when the family was awake and breakfast was being made. He claimed that the fire might have broken out due to a gas leak.
On December 3 a boy was killed and six other members of his family suffered burns in an explosion caused by a gas leak in New Karachi. Bilal Colony SHO Fardad Shaikh said that a gas knob was apparently left open at the house near Dua Chowk in Sector 5-D, adding that owing to the leak, the home was filled with gas.
The officer said that the family was asleep at around 2:30am, and when the house owner woke up in the morning and lit a matchstick to smoke, it triggered an explosion. As a result, the house caught fire. Seven people suffered burns and were taken to a hospital, where one of them, identified as Mazhar Adil, 8, died.
The SHO said that the condition of two or three other persons was also stated to be critical. He said that all the victims belonged to the same family. Later, more of his family members, including a father and a mother, succumbed to their injuries at the hospital.
On December 7 a woman and her son suffered burns in an explosion at their house in Malir. Malir City police said the explosion had occurred at a house near Sheesh Mahal in Muhabbat Nagar.
The blast was so loud that it was heard for miles, causing panic and fear in the area. Ambulances from different welfare organisations and a large contingent of law enforcers, including police and Rangers officials, also reached the house and took the casualties to a hospital.
The house was cordoned off and bomb experts also arrived on the scene to ascertain the nature of the explosion. The injured woman was identified as Shama Shabbir Ahmed, 52, and her son as Hussain, 28.
SHO Wasim Ahmed said that their initial investigation suggested that the explosion occurred due to a short circuit and the accumulation of an explosive gas in a room of the house that had been closed for many days.
He said that after the short circuit, a curtain in the room caught fire and ignited the gas, causing the explosion. The SHO added that furniture and other things in the room were damaged in the fire, while the explosion also damaged the walls.
He explained that the woman had suffered serious burns, while her son’s injuries were minor. The officer said that bomb experts also confirmed that the explosion had occurred due to a short circuit and gas leak.