Pak shoe factory fire kills many

At least 25 people, including three children, were killed and 15 others injured in a fire at a shoe factory in this eastern Pakistani city on Tuesday.

According to witnesses and police, some 40 people were in the shoe factory at Bund Road in Lahore when the fire broke out. Flames quickly engulfed the building and plastic, leather and chemicals stored in the building fuelled the blaze.

The owner of the factory, Rajab Ali, and his 10-year-old son were among the dead, witnesses said. The injured were taken to Mayo Hospital, where doctors described the condition of five persons as critical.

Personnel from the fire service and civic agencies rushed to the spot and launched efforts to extinguish the fire. Officials of the state-run Rescue 1122 service pulled out 15 people who were trapped in the building and took them to hospital.

"Some 25 people, including three children, died inside the building," a spokesman for the rescue service said. Most of the dead and injured were aged between 18 and 25 years.

The factory is located in a residential area in violation of government rules. District administration chief Noorul Amin told reporters that the fire broke out after a generator exploded. He said an inquiry had been launched to identify government officials who had allowed the factory to operate in a residential area.

In a separate incident, about a dozen people were injured when a fire broke out in a garment factory in the southern port city of Karachi this evening. The fire engulfed the second and third floors of the building and the fire service rescued several workers who were trapped on the roof.

Some persons were injured when they jumped out of windows to escape the blaze. Footage on television showed flames leaping out of the windows of the building.

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