Fire damages Pakistan's bombed Marriott
An accidental fire engulfed the luxury Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Thursday, five months after at least 54 people were killed there in a devastating suicide truck bombing, dpa reported.
The blaze erupted on the mezzanine floor of the five-storey building where labourers were renovating the suites.
"Preliminary findings and eyewitness accounts reveal that the fire was caused by a short circuit," Islamabad's chief commissioner Kamran Lashari told reporters.
Around a dozen people suffered injuries when they tried to evacuate the building in panic, he added.
"We were working on the third floor when we heard our fellows shouting "fire". We rushed downstairs, but the passage was filled with thick smoke. I again went upstairs and jumped out of the window to save my life," Nadeem Sultan, a labourer, told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa as he limped towards a waiting ambulance.
Lashari said most of the victims taken to the hospital were treated for fractures and smoke inhalation.
The flames were brought under control by firefighters after two hours of intense efforts. Narrow entrances via a 4.3-metre-high and 4.6-metre-thick bomb-proof wall at the Marriott's front hindered the access of emergency vehicles to the burning hotel.
"The hotel administration has enhanced security at the building but it has not taken care of a possible rescue operation in case of emergency. We will now ask them to also focus on this," said Lashari.
The hotel, which served as an oasis for diplomats and Pakistan's elite, was partially opened on December 28 after extensive renovation.