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Official: Death toll from Pakistan's shopping center fire reaches 12
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08:51, December 22, 2008

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Death toll from a shopping center fire in the eastern Pakistani city of Rawalpindi reached 12as more bodies were recovered from the rubbles of the collapsed building, officials said Sunday.

Four rescue workers are still missing, head of the emergency cell Mumtaz Hussain Zahid said.

Local 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 kms 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. The fire is now under control.

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

The owner of the shopping plaza claimed that the fire was the result of "sabotage".

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered inquiry into the blaze in the plaza and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has sent condolences to the bereaved families.

Source:Xinhua



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