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40 killed as fire engulfs slum area

world Updated: Jan 09, 2009 12:08 IST

At least 40 people, including 22 children, were killed and over 20 others injured when a major fire ripped through two dozen hutments in Pakistan's largest city on Friday.

The cause of the fire, which erupted a little after midnight, is yet to be determined. However, officials said it was probably caused by an illegal electrical connection that had been rigged in one of the huts.

Doctors at the Abassi Shaheed Hospital said over 20 people, most of them with serious burn injuries, were in a serious condition.

Many of the dead were caught unawares by the fire, which spread rapidly while they were asleep.

The blaze was brought under control after hectic efforts by fire fighters. Dozens of ambulances of relief organisations took the dead and injured to nearby hospitals.

Rescue teams and local residents scoured the area for survivors and pulled people out of the devastated huts.