LAHORE - Five young factory workers died and another got seriously burnt as a multi-storey building in Johar Town caught fire late Friday.

Authorities are yet to determine what caused the blaze which broke out inside an embroidery unit on the third floor of the five-storey Mian Plaza. Several residents on the upper apartments got trapped as the fire spread on the third floor.

Many people were asleep in the apartments when the blaze broke out in the building, triggering panic in the residential locality.

“Thick and grey smoke was billowing out of the windowpanes on the third floor as people ran out of the apartments. Everybody was scared and terrified,” said Muhammad Ahsan, who runs a tea-stall nearby.

Over a dozen firefighting units took part in the hours-long operation. Rescuers entered the building after extinguishing the fire.

Five dead bodies were discovered from the third floor as the rescuers managed to pull out the only survivor from embroidery stitching unit.

Anwar was rushed to the Jinnah Hospital in critical condition. Firefighters said it seemed the inferno spread quickly, leaving no chance for the factory workers to flee the fire.

A police officer said at least five young workers died on the spot. Three of them died of suffocation while another two were burnt alive, he told The Nation.

Dozens of people including women and children were rescued from the top floors of the structure by using long stairs. The bodies were handed over to their families after the police identified the victims as Qadir Bukhsh, Ghulam Abbas, Naveed, Tanvir, and Zafar. The deceased were later buried at a local graveyard amid tears and screaming.

No government representative or political leader attended the funeral prayers of the factory fire victims. The government has also not announced any compensation package for the victims’ families yet.

Police said a businessman Zahid had been running a stitching unit on third floor of the building, also housing several residential apartments. Almost all the apartments are rented out to bachelors and families.

No case was registered with the police till late yesterday night.

Taking notice over the incident, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the loss of precious human lives.

He also sought a report from the administration, after ordering inquiry into the matter.

Expressing his sympathies with the bereaved families, the CM directed the administration to provide best treatment facilities to the injured.