Toll in Pakistan mall blaze rises to 12 (Lead)

December 22nd, 2008 - 12:55 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 21 (Xinhua) The death toll from a shopping centre fire in the eastern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi reached 12 as more bodies were recovered from the rubbles of the collapsed building, officials said Sunday.Four rescue workers were still missing, emergency cell head Mumtaz Hussain Zahid said.

TV reports quoted Zahid as saying that a total of 59 people were injured in the incident in the major shopping mall in Rawalpindi, some 30 km south of Islamabad.

Blaze erupted early Friday in the five-storey building which houses 500 small and big shops, mainly electronic and garment shops.

Helicopters from army aviation also took part in the operation to put out fire but the fire spread in hours in the whole building, sending thick smoke in the air.

It is believed that short-circuit has caused the blaze but there was no official confirmation.

The owner of the shopping plaza said the fire was the result of a “sabotage”.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered inquiry into the blaze.

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