A fire in the Regent Plaza Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, killed eleven people early on Monday morning, local time, and left another 75 injured, officials told CNN.
The fire, which broke out at 2.45 a.m., has been contained and fire department officials were at the scene investigating the situation, Mohammad Yaseen of the Saddar Fire Station told CNN.
Dr Seemi Jamali, who heads the Emergency Room at Jinnah Hospital, close to the hotel, said the deaths had been caused by suffocation and all injuries were linked to respiratory problems.
The Regent Plaza Hotel is a prominent landmark in Karachi and has been one of the city’s most popular hotels since the 1970s.
Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, who was at the scene, told a press conference on Monday no senior employees from the hotel had been present at the scene.
“There was no fire exit for people to escape from and no fire alarms were working,” he said.
In a statement, Pakistan International Airlines said 16 cabin crew members, who had been staying at the hotel, suffered injuries but most had been discharged from hospital by noon on Monday.
Karachi Fire Chief Tahseen Siddiqui told CNN the fire was on the ground floor while the deaths had been on the upper floors of the hotel.
“None of their smoke detectors worked, there was no sprinkler system, this is the responsibility of the hotel … people were completely unaware of the problem, (they) suffocated in their sleep,” he said.
‘Precious lives could have been saved’
In a series of tweets posted late on Monday, the Regent Plaza Hotel’s official Twitter account offered their condolences to the victims’ families and blamed the severity of the fire on Karachi’s fire department.
“Fire spread quickly while the duty manager waited for fire brigade to arrive, which unfortunately took more than one hour to arrive,” the tweet from the hotel’s official account said.
“Had the fire brigade started their operation on time, many precious lives could have been saved today.”