KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - A fire swept through a slum in
Pakistan's largest city, killing 38 people, many of them children,
officials and witnesses said Friday.
One official speculated the blaze, which broke out late Thursday
in the port city of Karachi, could have been triggered by a fire
lit by people to stay warm. Authorities were still investigating.
Riaz Ahmed, a resident of the slum, said he saw the scorched
bodies of two women who died hugging each other. More than 17
makeshift huts were destroyed, he and other witnesses said.
Provincial Health Minister Sagheer Ahemd said 38 bodies had been
taken to the hospital, among them women and children. Dawn TV News
reported up to half of the victims were children.
Mohammad Asghar was searching among charred bodies at a nearby
hospital for the remains of his sister, her husband and their seven
"My sister was planning to visit our hometown to meet our
relatives, but it is all finished," said Asghar, sobbing as he
Open fires are frequently used to keep dwellings warm in winter
in this nation of 160 million people, where many people can not
afford gas heating. Blazes spread quickly in the tightly packed
slums that are found in every large town and city.