Six workers die after inhaling toxic fumes in SITE factory

Updated 18 Oct 2020

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Six young labourers died after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning an underground chemical tank in a factory in SITE on Saturday evening, according to officials. — Reuters/File
Six young labourers died after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning an underground chemical tank in a factory in SITE on Saturday evening, according to officials. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: Six young labourers died after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning an underground chemical tank in a factory in SITE on Saturday evening, according to officials.

DSP Jehan Khan Niaz said that the workers fell unconscious when they were cleaning the chemical tank inside the SM Denim Company near Naurus Chowrangi. They were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors declared them dead on arrival.

He said that the company hired sanitary workers through a private contractor for cleaning the underground tank. They were not provided proper equipment for cleaning the chemical tank.

He said that after autopsy, the police would record the statements of the heirs and the factory management and the contractor would be booked under relevant sections of the law.

A Chhipa spokesperson said three of the victims were identified as Garadari Lachman, 23, Bhora Mana, 22, Ramesh, 20 while the identity of the rest of the victims could not be ascertained till late in the night.

All the victims were stated to be in their 20s.

Police say workers were not provided proper equipment for chemical tank’s cleaning

Man found slaughtered

A 49-year-old man was found dead in Federal B. Area’s Block 20 on Saturday, according to police.

They added the body of Khawaja Qamar Raza with his throat slit was recovered from his rented home.

Samanabad SHO Waqar Kaiser said that the deceased was married and had no children. His wife had gone to meet her parents while his younger brother, Hashim, was asleep in another room. Both the brothers had returned home after attending a majlis on Friday night. He was a manager at a hotel near the airport but lost his job due to coronavirus pandemic.

He said it appeared to be a suicide case but added that the police were investigating.

Fire at chemical factory

A huge fire erupted in an industrial unit and spread to another building in SITE on Saturday, according to police and fire officials.

They added that the blaze broke out in a chemical factory (East Land Corporation), dealing with paints at around 10am. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the firemen declared it as a third-degree fire and called fire tenders from across the metropolis. Besides, fire tenders from the Pakistan Navy and Karachi Port Trust also joined in firefighting.

The officials said that chemicals were kept inside the factory, which exploded due to which fire spread to a nearby factory, Abdullah Industries.

Several fire tenders managed to control the blaze in the evening. The cooling work continued till late in the night.

DSP Niazi said fire officials informed the police that an electric short-circuit might have triggered the fire.

A Chippa spokesperson said that Ghulam Murtaza, 20, suffered injuries as he jumped from a wall of the building to save himself from the fire. He was admitted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2020