LAHORE   -   A man died and 12 others wounded critically in an explosion and fire at a famous bakery in Ichhra on early Wednesday. The condition of two of 12 injured was said to be serious.

Initial police investigations suggest that huge fire broke out inside the bakery located the Main Ferozpur Road soon after a gas cylinder exploded with a bang. Several customers and salesmen were present inside the shop when the explosion took place. The blast was so powerful that it triggered panic in the commercial locality during the rush hours in the morning.

Rescue workers said that the victims were lying on the ground with serious injuries as they rushed to the spot. “At least 13 victims were shifted to hospital on ambulances where one of them succumbed to wounds,” an official said. He said that the explosion was powerful that it shattered the windowpanes of nearby buildings.

The deceased was identified by police as 35-year-old Sajid Younis. The police handed over the body to the family after fulfilling legal formalities. The injured were identified as Farzan Ali, Farhan Shakoor, Matloob Rahman, Shafique-ul-Hassan, Shaukat Ali, Usman Nazir, Hamza, Ayyan, Aqib, Ghulam Qadir, Barak and Babar Tariq.

Investigations were underway to ascertain the cause of the explosion. However, a police officer said that the incident took place because of the negligence of the bakery owner, Riaz Uddin. According to police inspector Hassan Raza Khawaja, some passersby alerted the police by phone soon after the explosion. He said that apparently, “it was a gas cylinder blast.”

The Ichhra police later registered a criminal case against the bakery owner (under sections 322/285/286/287 of the Pakistan Penal Code) and launched the investigation with no arrest made yet.