LAHORE – At least seven people were killed and eight injured when a massive fire broke out at a construction company office near Mehmood Booti Interchange of Lahore’s Ring Road on Wednesday.

Police sources said the fire erupted at the office on Wednesday afternoon. Within minutes, the blaze turned into an inferno and engulfed the whole building.

Rescuers and firefighters arrived at the spot and controlled the fire after one hour. After extinguishing the flames, the rescue teams evacuated the dozens of people stranded inside the office.

The bodies were shifted to the morgue while others with minor injuries were taken to Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital.

Investigators are yet to ascertain the exact cause of the fire.

This is not the first incident of a small fire turning deadly in the metropolis. Five members of a family died in Lohari Gate on January 14 when the house of a fruit seller in Jhanda Bazaar caught fire. A man, his wife, their two sons and a daughter, and their aunt were burnt alive while sleeping on the fourth floor.

Three teenage workers were killed when the boiler of a bakery exploded in Shahpur Kanjran, Chung on September 17. Workers were boiling milk at the production unit when the explosion took place and died on the spot.

On November 10, three workers were burnt alive inside a garment factory in Shafiqabad.

Official data shows over 3,390 fires were reported in Lahore between January and December 2016, in which 26 lives were lost and 219 victims suffered burns. Property and valuables worth an estimated Rs911 million were damaged in 854 fire incidents in commercial areas and 1,058 in residential areas.

According to Rescue 1122 spokesperson Jam Sajjad Hussain, violation of building bylaws and ignoring safety protocols was the fundamental reason behind fire incidents.

By-laws state that proper fire extinguishing system and sprinkling system must be installed inside every building and maps should be pasted outside the building to help firefighters in their rescue operations.