Lahore: At least 17 bodies were on Friday brought out of a high-rise government building in this eastern Pakistani city that was engulfed by a fire, taking the total death toll to 22. On Thursday, at least five persons were killed and 22 got injured after the fire broke out in the Lahore Development Authority building on Egerton Road.
The blaze was reportedly caused by a short circuit on the seventh floor and the flames rapidly spread to several more floors.
The state-run rescue service resumed its operations at the building on Friday morning and found 17 bodies. "We have found 17 bodies, including that of a woman," said rescue service spokesman Jam Sajjad.
The rescue operation was continuing as teams had not yet cleared the building, he said.
One man fell to his death on Thursday while trying to climb to the roof to escape the flames within the building. Two other men succumbed to injuries they sustained when they jumped from the seventh floor, officials and witnesses said.
Government and military helicopters hoisted some 25 people from the roof and ferried them to Mayo Hospital.
Dozens of people were trapped within the building till the fire was extinguished in the evening.
The building has offices of the department that manages the land records of Lahore city.
Footage on television showed people trapped on the upper floors standing at windows and waving at rescue teams as thick black smoke billowed out of the building.
The Pakistan People’s Party alleged that those involved in land grabbing under the previous PML-N government led by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif were behind the fire.