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Central & South Asia
Fire in factory claims lives in Pakistan
At least 21 workers dead after blaze apparently caused by generator destroys shoe-making unit in eastern city of Lahore.
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2012 18:34
Firefighters were struggling to control the fire that swept through a factory in Lahore on Tuesday [EPA]

A fire that broke out in a factory in eastern Pakistan has killed 21 people, according to a senior police officer.

Multan Khan said on Tuesday that six people were also injured in the blaze at the factory in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.

Some of the people died from suffocation while others burned alive when the flames surrounded the chemicals, he said.

In a separate incident, a second factory fire, this time in Karachi, claimed one life and injured 14 others after a garment factory erupted into flames.

Reports suggested that people were still inside.

The fire in the Lahore factory broke out when people in the building were trying to start their generator after the electricity went out. Sparks from the generator made contact with the chemicals, igniting the blaze.

Pakistan faces widespread blackouts, and many people use generators to provide electricity for their houses or to run businesses.

Pakistani television showed pictures of what appeared to be a three-story building with flames leaping from the top-floor windows and smoke billowing into the night sky.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Pakistani prime minister, expressed his shock and grief over the deaths in a statement.

Many people in Lahore have set up shoe factories at homes and in residential areas.

Many of the factories are ill-equipped and often lack modern fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers or sprinklers.

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