Stories about Karachi factory fire

Déjà vu: The workers died due to suffocation

‘The workers died due to suffocation’ – this is not the first time we have heard news like this. The first time we heard it was back in 2012. Two years ago, on September 11, 2012, when the garment factory caught fire claiming 259 lives and injuring 140. They called for help, screamed and shouted in agony but all in vain. The rescue forces didn’t get there in time. There were no fire escapes, fire retardants or safety measures. The doors were locked and the only unlocked door was on fire. One might think that they could have used the windows to escape instead ...

Read Full Post

The Baldia Town factory fire was not pre-meditated murder!

Is it a crime that someone in Pakistan generates Rs2 billion in annual revenues? If this said person pays taxes worth Rs20 million per year, why is he implicated under section 302, which is premeditated murder, if his factory faces an accident? Is it fair that a person providing direct employment to 1,200 workers, translating into 1,200 families, whose factory suffers from an unanticipated fire, is sent to jail along with his gatekeeper, accountant and senior staff? Who benefits from the fact that the owners are in jail today? And what happens to the 900 workers who are depending on finances from ...

Read Full Post

Factory fire: When misery repeats itself, but not quite

March 25, 1911: As the closing hours of the day approached, a fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Factory in New York City that resulted in 146 people losing their lives in 18 minutes. The company was a typical textile manufacturing unit based in Manhattan, characterised by long working hours, low wages, and unhealthy, unhygienic working conditions. The fire erupted on the eighth floor. As a standard company policy, managers had locked the doors to every possible exit – a practice to prevent excessive and unauthorised break from work. Workers who could not escape the building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and ...

Read Full Post

Factory fire: The inspectors said that the building was safe

Eight hours after flames from the Baldia Town garment factory fire had been doused, the top floor of the building was still simmering. It is here that the highest number of deaths had taken place. Around 200 people had screamed for help and had tried to look for a way to escape, but to no avail. The only door was on fire, while the windows were too small to let the air in, resulting in people dying of suffocation. Only three people on the floor managed to come out alive after rescue workers tore through one of the small grilled ...

Read Full Post

Factory fires: What you can do to prevent a similar tragedy

Last week at work, during my lunch hour I was casually browsing the internet while eating my sandwich when I first read about the horrific fire incident in the unfortunate factory located in SITE Karachi. A few lines in, the gruesome graphic details and the staggering casualty count made me lose my appetite. Like most people, I couldn’t help but wonder about the horror experienced by the victims during the last few moments of their lives and their helplessness in the wake of imminent death. After getting over the nauseating feeling, I read a few blogs and comment boards on which the ...

Read Full Post