According to Inayat Ullah, a senior official at the city’s central fire station, the fire erupted in the dwellings along the Lyari River, under a bridge in central Karachi in the Teenhatti neighborhood. About 10 firetrucks arrived at the scene quickly and managed to extinguish the flames after several hours.
It was not immediately known what started the blaze, he said, adding that such incidents frequently happen with the onset of cold weather when the poor living in the makeshift homes in the slums light fires to keep warm.
A similar fire last year gutted about a hundred of the burlap-and-plastic dwellings in the same neighborhood, whose residents get by mostly by working odd jobs and begging. No one was seriously hurt in that laze either.
By daylight, men, women and children of Teenhatti were seen searching for any belongings they could salvage from the ashes.
Karachi is the capital of southern Sindh province, where thousands live in open areas along the Lyari. Some have tin roofs but the majority of the houses are made up of cane, burlap and plastic.