KARACHI: At least five people were killed and 20 others injured in a massive explosion in the upper portion of a multi-storey residential building located near Maskan Chowrangi in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Geo News reported.
Police and Rangers teams reached the spot soon after the incident and launched a rescue operation. The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital, where the condition of 11 people is said to be critical.
The nature of the blast has not been determined as yet. Police officials have speculated that an LPG cylinder may have exploded, but hurried to add that an investigation by the Bomb Disposal Squad is ongoing and it is too early to pin a cause.
The explosion was so severe that the windowpanes of nearby buildings were shattered by the shockwave.
The first two floors of the building have been severely damaged, which has weakened the foundations of the building. The authorities faced difficulty in rescuing people stuck on the upper floors of the building as the staircase was damaged due to the blast
Affected building to be razed
Education Minister Saeed Ghani, who had arrived at the blast site on the chief minister’s instructions, said that the authorities were 99% sure that no one was under the rubble.
“All residents have been evacuated from the building,” said Ghani, adding that the evacuated people were shifted to another location as the “building is no longer habitable” and will have to be razed.
Speaking about the reason for the blast, Ghani suggested that it may have happened due to a gas line leakage, but did not rule it as the main cause for the explosion.
“We cannot say anything right now whether it was cylinder or gas leakage blast. I am not an expert but I feel it might have happened due to a gas line leakage,” said Ghani.
Ghani also ruled out a terrorist incident, saying that there was no sign of fire or explosive material being used.
SSGC says blast not due to gas leakage
A spokesperson for the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) said that the blast was not due to a leakage in a gas pipeline.
He said that the supply to the building has been switched off for safety purposes.
CM Sindh takes notice of blast
Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah had earlier taken notice of the incident and directed the commissioner Karachi to submit a detailed report on the incident.
In a tweet issued by CM House, Murad Ali Shah instructed officials to provide treatment to the injured and expressed his sadness over the loss of lives.