A woman and her children were killed and five others injured in the explosion that rocked a residential building near Mosamyat Chowk on University Road on Tuesday morning.
Initial investigations suggested the explosion was likely due to a gas leak.
The explosion, which tore through the pizzeria located in the building – Crown Gardens, left the restaurant and two neighboring realtors offices completely destroyed while three other shops were partially damaged.
Panic ensued and chaos broke out when the explosion occurred. The scale of the explosion was such that a K-Electric van capsized and increased the casualties.
LPG cylinders, computers, fans and several other items stored in the affected shops were blown into the air. In addition, several cars parked in the vicinity were damaged by the debris.
Rescue workers, police, Sindh Rangers and other law enforcement personnel arrived and closed the site. Bomb Disposal Troops (BDS) were also alerted.
Read: Two minors were injured in a gas explosion in Karachi
A rescue operation is launched and the victims of the explosion are transferred to the Jinnah Graduate Medical Center.
A woman, identified as Sadia, 35, and her children, three-year-old Abdullah and four-year-old Fatima, were pronounced dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, the injured victims were identified as Burhan Amir, 35, Fahad, 35, Ali Akbar, 25, Rehan Bashir, 25, and Javed Hanif, 28.
According to Gulistan-e-Jauhar SHO Azam Gopang, the restaurant was closed when the explosion occurred. Sadia lives near Kamran Chowrangi and was visiting her brother, whose flat is on the third floor of the Crown Garden, she said, adding that she was climbing the stairs, which are located directly behind the restaurant, when the air exploded.
The investigation started
Gulshan-e-Iqbal SP Maroof Usman said the explosion was likely due to a gas leak. But, he said, it was too early to determine the cause of the explosion.
However, when the BDS team came to check, they said they did not find any traces of explosives at the location.
BDS issued a permit certificate for the site and cited a gas leak as a possible cause of the explosion.
After their initial inspection of the location, the team said that the gas cylinder stored in the pizza outlet’s kitchen was most likely the culprit.
But sources at BDS also suggested that because the KE team was working nearby, it was possible that a spark had occurred in the pizza outlet wire or switch and that combined with the gas present in the restaurant caused an explosion.
Meanwhile, SHO Gopang added that the shop owner, Aslam, was called and he said he had rented out the shop to the people who run the restaurant.
However, SHO said, Aslam had been summoned to the station. East DIG Saqib Ismail Memon and East SSP Sajid Sadozai also visited and inspected the scene of the explosion.
They directed the police to immediately complete the investigation.
Read more: Woman, four children died in gas explosion
Third in six months
This is the third explosion that has occurred in the metropolis in six months.
At least six people were killed and several others were injured when shaken explosion took place on the ground floor of a residential building near Maskan Chowrangi in Gulshan-e-Iqbal on October 21, 2020.
In addition, BDS initially claimed that the explosion was due to a gas cylinder explosion, but later reports indicating the presence of explosives surfaced.
Samples collected from the site were sent for testing to a laboratory in Lahore but the matter remains a mystery to this day.
Likewise, at least eight people were killed and more than 35 injured when an ice factory kettle in the New Karachi Industrial Zone exploded on December 22.
The cause of the explosion is not yet certain.