Toll in Pakistan mall blaze rises to eight, six missing

December 21st, 2008 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 21 (DPA) The death toll in a massive fire that gutted a popular shopping centre in Pakistan’s garrison town of Rawalpindi rose to eight Sunday, while six people were still missing, officials said.Most of the killed were emergency workers trying to put out the fire when two-thirds of the five-storey Gakhar Plaza collapsed Saturday afternoon.

“Eight people have been confirmed dead and 59 were injured. Six are still missing,” deputy commissioner Haseeb Athar told reporters.

“The rescue work is still continuing. We fear that some more people are buried under the rubble. We are trying to pull them out alive,” he added.

The cause of the blaze was not yet known. But some officials speculated that it started in a garment shop due to an electrical short-circuit and spread to the entire building which had more than 400 shops.

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