The death toll from Tuesday’s explosion in an ice factory in New Karachi rose to 10 on Wednesday, while the investigators failed to ascertain the actual cause of the blast.
The powerful blast had destroyed the building structure, killing eight people, damaging two neighbouring industrial units and vehicles, bringing down the electricity supply and shattering the windowpanes of several houses in the adjoining residential block.
Though it was initially reported that the incident occurred after a boiler at the factory exploded, the factory management and the industrial association claimed that no boiler had been installed in the factory as ice factories did not require boilers. They said that it could be a compressor explosion, but all the compressors at the ice factory remained intact, and a gas leakage could have been the cause of the explosion.
Experts from the bomb disposal squad examined the factory on Wednesday, collected evidence and samples and sent them to a laboratory to ascertain the actual cause of explosion.
Police said the relevant authorities, including the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the Sindh Building Control Authority and personnel of law enforcement agencies, continued the search and rescue operation and recovered one more body from under the debris. The victim has been identified as Saleem, son of Wahid Bukhsh.
One more injured person succumbed to his injuries during treatment at hospital. He has been identified as Yousuf, son of Abdul Ghaffar.
Police said that some of the injured persons were also discharged from hospitals. However, three injured persons, of which two are under treatment at the Civil Hospital and one at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, were said to be battling for their lives.
Police said some victims who lost their lives in the mysterious explosion belonged to different parts of the country, including Muzaffargarh and Jalalpur, and their bodies were sent to their hometowns for burial.
Rescuers complained that they were facing difficulties in the rescue and debris removal work due to ammonia gas leakage.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of the incident and sought a report from the labour department. The provincial government has ordered an inquiry and issued directives to provide best medical facilities to the injured.
Minister for Industries & Commerce and Anti-Corruption & Cooperative Department Jam Ikramullah Dharejo said the Sindh government would provide financial compensation to the families of those who died in the New Karachi Saba Cinema Factory incident, while those injured in the incident were being provided with medical assistance and financial assistance would be provided to them as per their need.
Talking to media during a visit to the factory, he said the exact cause of the incident had not been determined yet. Dharejo said he had come to the scene on the instructions of the chief minister, who was deeply saddened by the incident and had directed that every possible help should be given to the bereaved families.
“Something can be said when the final report of the incident is received, and full medical aid is being provided to the injured in the incident.”
He vowed that those found negligent would not be forgiven, and there was a need for the factory owners to take all possible safety measures so that such tragic incidents did not happen again. He said the government shared the grief of the families of those who died in the incident.