23 children sustain burns as school catches fire in Pakistan

 Twenty-three children, aged between seven and 12 years, and a teacher sustained burn injuries today when leaking gas caused a fire in a school in this eastern Pakistani city, officials said.

More than 20 Grade-5 students were in the classroom of Dara-Arqam, a private school in Shahdara area of Lahore, when the blaze erupted, rescue service official Karamat Ali told PTI. "There was a gas leakage and when the class teacher lit a heater, the fire broke out."

Other officials said 23 children and a female teacher were injured. Rescue teams and fire brigade personnel rushed to the school and took the injured to Mayo Hospital.
According to Mayo Hospital's Medical Superintendent Zahid Pervaiz, none of the children had life threatening injuries.

"All the children are safe. They sustained less than 30 per cent burns. They are being treated and some of them will be discharged today," Pervaiz said.

Footage on television showed burnt school bags lying in the classroom.

Parents rushed to the school and then to hospitals.

Several persons broke down and wept outside the hospital.

The school's administration held the official in-charge of security responsible for the incident.

"The person in-charge of security is responsible as he did not check whether the heater was left on through the night," a school official said.

Local education authorities sealed the school and ordered an inquiry.
Media reports said police had arrested an administrative official and were looking for the principal of the school.

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