Eight die, many hurt in boiler explosion at New Karachi factory

Published December 23, 2020
Law enforcers and rescuers at the site of the explosion on Tuesday evening.—INP
Law enforcers and rescuers at the site of the explosion on Tuesday evening.—INP

KARACHI: At least eight people were killed and 30 others injured when the boiler of a New Karachi factory exploded on Tuesday destroying the infrastructure and power supply system of the densely populated neighbourhood, officials and eyewitnesses said.

The powerful blast destroyed the ground-plus-one factory structure and badly damaged two other neighbouring industrial units while shattering the windowpanes of houses in the adjoining residential block.

The officials and witnesses said that a large section of the boiler was flung into the air and landed some 250 yards away that damaged a few other industrial units in the area and also hit the residential facilities in the thickly populated neighbourhood.

The area police said that the owner of the factory was living in Canada with his family these days.

Another Chinese man survives an attempt on his life on Superhighway

The explosion occurred at an ice factory in Sector 12-C of New Karachi Industrial Area near Saba Cinema.

In addition to destroying the factory — though its office was only partially damaged — the massive blast caused the destruction of at least three adjoining industrial units and two houses.

Investigators suspected that the intensity of the blast might intensify further due to some chemicals stored in drums.

The fire brigade, police, Rangers and officials of the labour and industries department reached the spot while the dead and injured were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital by Edhi and Chhipa ambulances.

An injured victim while talking to the media at the hospital said that the boiler operator and other workers were very close to the site of the incident when the explosion took place.

He said that he had been in a restroom next to the factory and suffered burns and other injuries when walls collapsed.

An Edhi official said that the ambulance service had moved some eight bodies and 30 injured from the explosion site to hospitals fearing more casualties in the incident.

“The explosion occurred at around 5.45pm,” said a police official. “It damaged two neighbouring factories and completely destroyed eight vehicles parked in the street. A PMT [pole-mounted transformer] was also damaged that cut off the power supply to the area. Efforts are on to remove the rubble and make sure that there’s no one else inside the building. It’s too early to suggest any reason behind the blast and total losses.”

Chinese man escapes assassination

A Chinese national survived an attempt on his life on the outskirts of the city near Superhighway when two men on a motorbike fired at him while he was busy making a deal in a roadside car showroom just a week after a similar attempt was made on another Chinese man for which an outlawed militant organisation had claimed responsibility.

An official said that two men on a motorbike pulled up outside a car showroom near Jamali Pul off Superhighway and fired two shots that hit one of the vehicles parked outside. The firing, he said, triggered panic and fear in the area.

“Apparently, it seems that the Chinese national was the target but the way the assailants fired in a hurry ... they were nowhere near the target,” said the official.

Only last week, four people, including two paramilitary soldiers, were wounded in a cracker attack on a moving Rangers mobile near the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre on University Road a couple of hours after a Chinese man survived an attempt to bomb his vehicle in Clifton.

The outlawed Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks and again in a statement posted on social media and mailed to newspaper offices the same outfit claimed the responsibility of Tuesday’s attack.

Suspected bandit killed in ‘encounter’

A suspected bandit was killed and his three accomplices were wounded in an encounter with police in Solider Bazaar on Tuesday, official said.

An official at the Solider Bazaar police station said that a police patrol spotted four suspects riding on two motorbikes near Commercial Market. As the policemen tried to stop them one of the riders fired shots at the police mobile and they all rode away.

“While running away they fired multiple shots,” said the official. “The police mobile chased the armed riders and finally trapped them in one of the narrow lanes. They kept firing and after a brief exchange of gunfire, all the four bandits were hit and one of them died on the spot. The three others surrendered and were arrested. We have recovered four pistols and two motorbikes from their possession.”

He said the injured bandits were taken to the Civil Hospital Karachi where their condition was said to be stable.

The deceased bandit, he said, was later identified as Asad, an Afghan national. The police were collecting previous records of the arrested bandits, he added.

Man shot dead in targeted attack

In Khawaja Ajmer Nagri, an Afghan cloth merchant was shot dead in a “targeted attack”.

The area police said that four armed men on two motorbikes intercepted the moving car of 38-year-old Khudadad and fired multiple shots near Madni Chowk.

“The deceased trader was travelling with his teenage son, Qasim, who remained unhurt. He was a resident of the Manghopir area and came here to see one of his business friends,” said an official at the Khawaja Ajmer Nagri police station.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2020

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