Four jump to their deaths from Lahore tower fire

More bodies expected inside 13-story building

Four jump to their deaths from Lahore tower fire

Emergency services struggled to reach office workers trapped in the upper floors (AFP photo/Arif Ali) reporter, Lahore, Pakistan

May 10, 2013

Four people jumped to their deaths on Thursday as a 13-story building in Lahore caught fire. At least 29 have been injured and more dead are expected.

Emergency services tried to use ladders and helicopters to reach office workers on the seventh and eighth floors of LDA Plaza, where several people were forced to jump from near the top of the 41-meter government building.

“The helicopters could not land; there were no stairs outside the building for people to escape. The ladders on our rescue vehicles can only reach 100 feet (30 meters) up,” said Dr Rizwan Naseer, director-general of Rescue-1122, the emergency services.

Investigations would begin once rescue operations were completed, he said. Unconfirmed reports say an electrical fault caused the fire.

Emergency services expected to find at least 11 more bodies inside the building, added Dr Rizwan.

As the drama unfolded on Thursday afternoon, hundreds of people watched from the ground including Afsar Ali, a tuk-tuk driver who was critical of the response by the emergency services.

“A few [trapped people] could be seen waving their shirts for help,” he said. “It was hard for them to breathe there.”