Edinburgh man in narrow escape from Pakistan hotel fire
A STUDENT and his family narrowly escaped death after being forced to jump from the second-floor window of a hotel during a deadly blaze.
Naveed Khurram was staying at the Regent Plaza hotel in the Pakistani city of Karachi with his wife and two young children when a blaze broke out in the early hours of the morning, killing 12 and injuring a further 80.
Mr Khurram, who is doing an MSc in Global Health at Queen Margaret University (QMU), had only been back in Pakistan for a matter of hours when he was woken up at 4am last Monday by a loud banging noise outside his room.
The 38-year-old opened the door to discover the corridor was filled with smoke before quickly shutting it and proceeding to wake up his family.
Mr Khurram, an administrator at Kunri Christian Hospital, a Church of Scotland partner in the Diocese of Hyderabad, frantically set about working out how they were to escape.
He said: “We had a poolside view so I picked up the floor lamp and broke the glass window pane with it.
“We were on the second floor and the roof of the first floor was not that far below.
“I jumped barefoot first and told my wife to throw out the children to me one by one.
“I managed to catch my four-year-old son but almost missed my seven-year-old daughter who dislocated a shoulder in the fall.
“Next I told my wife to throw me a mattress so that she could jump on it later.
“But she had misplaced her prescription glasses so when she jumped, she missed the mattress and fractured her right arm and left foot in the process.”
Mr Khurram, who stayed in a Springfield Street flat owned by the World Mission Council while at QMU, said the family then had to make it to the first floor of the hotel. He described grabbing his son and stepping a few feet backwards to create a run-up for himself to be able to jump into the swimming pool – a feat he managed just barely.
Another hotel guest who had managed to reach the first floor from the fourth helped bring his daughter to the ground while his wife had to jump again.
This time she fractured her right leg in the process.
Mr Khurrum’s studies in Edinburgh have been funded by the Church of Scotland.
Sandy Sneddon, Asia secretary at the Church of Scotland World Mission Council, said everyone wished Mr Khurrum and his family a “full and speedy” recovery.
It is understood Mr Khurram will not return to Edinburgh and instead complete his course externally.
Investigations are now under way to discover what caused the fire, which started in the hotel’s kitchen.
Officials at Queen Margaret University said they were aware of the incident as Mr Khurram had contacted them after the blaze.
A spokesman added: “Our staff obviously wish his family a speedy recovery following this terrible ordeal.”