ISLAMABAD — A three-story factory illegally set up in a residential area of an eastern Pakistani city collapsed Monday after several gas cylinders inside exploded, killing at least two people and trapping over 40 others in the rubble, officials said.
Authorities had previously closed the factory that manufactured medicine three times, but each time it reopened, said deputy commissioner of the city of Lahore, Ahad Cheema.
The factory was owned by a local politician, who used his influence to keep it open despite complaints from the neighbors, said local resident Munawar Ali.
Powerful Pakistanis often use their influence to circumvent the law and extract illegal profits.
Records indicate there were 62 people, including women and children, inside the factory when it collapsed, said Cheema, the deputy commissioner. Fourteen people have been pulled out so far, including two who had died.
Rescue workers are trying to reach more than 40 others who are still trapped, he said.