Five people have been killed and 28 injured in an explosion at a building near Karachi’s Maskan Chowrangi.
Three people are in critical condition and two are women among injured peoples.
Rescue, police and Rangers teams are at the scene. The area has been cordoned off and the bomb disposal squad examined the site.
It has determined that the explosion occurred due to a gas leak in one of the apartments. It was earlier being reported that the explosion could have been a cylinder blast because the noise and intensity of the blast was considered too loud to be a gas or cylinder-related explosion.
The police say the blast occurred within Meezan Bank. There were 18 staff members in the bank at the time of the blast.
A security guard was killed and the marks on his body indicate that it was a gas blast, according to the initial report given to police officials.
The explosion was reported on the mezzanine floor of the four-story Allah Noor Apartments in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Maskan Chowrangi. The apartments are opposite the Karachi University gate. The ground and mezzanine floors both belong to Meezan Bank.
There are fears that some people might be stuck beneath the rubble. The ground floor had the bank and businesses while residential apartments were located on top.
One section of the apartment has collapsed and the top floors have been evacuated.
The injured and deceased were initially taken to Patel Hospital and then shifted to Jinnah hospital and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Some people were also injured when rubble from the building fell on them.
The windows of nearby apartments shattered due to the intensity of the blast.
In this blast, no ball bearings or nuts and bolts were found at the scene, nor was there any smell of explosives.
Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani is at the scene and says one bank staffer is currently missing. We have been informed one person is missing and might be under the rubble, he said, adding that the rubble will be removed after he is found and then they will know the reason for the explosion.
Heavy machinery is at the scene to remove the rubble and debris.
The building has to be declared dangerous after this. The East DIG and SSP and Rangers Wing Commander are at the incident spot.
The building is currently vibrating and people are being moved back. Officials are hoping to complete the operation very quickly.
According to SSGC officials, all the gas lines in the area are safe. The emergency teams reached the scene and have checked the lines. There were three meters in the affected building and all of them are fine. The gas supply to the building has been cut off.
Eighteen people were brought to a private hospital in Gulshan-e-Iqbal’s Block 4, according to a senior doctor at the hospital, Dr Tariq Chundrigar. Five of those were in critical condition. No more injured people have been brought to the hospital, which is near the blast site.
Five people were taken to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and then sent on to Jinnah hospital when their condition became critical.
Three bodies have been taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Morgue. One victim has been identified by his family as Khalid.
The people injured at Abbasi Shaheed had broken arms and seemed to have injuries consistent with falling rubble.
Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani said their priority is rescuing people beneath the rubble.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of the explosion and summoned a detailed report from the Karachi commissioner. He also ordered the immediate provision of medical services to the injured and expressed his sorrow over the deaths.
The Mobina Town police station is very close to the blast spot. Multiple small restaurants are also located in the area. The area is not a commercial area but is densely populated. The apartments are old and rather well known.
Team of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) reached the scene and will submit a report on the building’s future demolition and condition.The team inspect and declared the effected block consist on 8 residential flats to be demolish after the rubble clear.
Traffic has been diverted from Abul Hassan Isphahani Road due to the blast. The road to Maskan from Safari Park and Disco Bakery has been closed.