A fast-moving fire swept through adjoining apartment buildings and chemical warehouses in a historic part of the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, killing at least 81 people and injuring several others, the latest such deadly blaze in the country.
Officials said the fire broke out at night a chemical warehouse on the ground floor of a four-storey building named Hazi Wahed Mansion behind a mosque in Old Dhaka’s congested Chawkbazar area on Wednesday night and the flames then quickly spread through four other buildings nearby, including a community centre where a wedding party was on.
Fire officials said that the blaze has claimed 81 lives so far.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police officials said the fire spread rapidly due to the multiple chemical godowns that were situated in the area.
Fire service control room spokesman Kamrul Ahsan confirmed the death toll to be 81 while state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s director Brigadier General AKM Nasiruddin said 78 bodies were kept at their disposal.
Nasiruddin, however, feared that the toll may rise as several people were being treated at the facility with critical burn injuries.
Khokon called off the rescue operation around 12:10 pm after nearly 14 hours of efforts. Two-hundred fire-fighters from 37 units doused the blaze, making their way to the scene through narrow lanes with fire engines.
“Some of the bodies were burned very badly... of the victims, five are children and nine women,” a doctor said.
TV images showed the main gate of one of the buildings was locked, leaving its residents trapped, as it swept through its five storeys.
Bangladesh, (Hindustan Times), Feb 21, 2019