Major fire kills at least 81 in old district of Bangladesh’s capital – National

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A devastating hearth raced by way of densely packed buildings in a centuries-old district in Bangladesh’s capital, killing a minimum of 81 folks, officers and witnesses mentioned Thursday.

The hearth in Dhaka’s Chawkbazar space was principally beneath management after greater than 10 hours of frantic firefighting efforts. About 50 folks have been injured, some critically burned.

The district relationship to the Mughal period 400 years in the past is full of buildings separated by slim alleys, with residences generally above outlets, eating places or warehouses on the bottom flooring. Denizens of the Muslim-majority nation throng to Chawkbazar every year for conventional items to rejoice iftar, when the day by day quick is damaged throughout Ramadan.

“I used to be speaking to a buyer, all of a sudden he shouted at me, ‘Hearth! Hearth!‘” mentioned Javed Hossain, a survivor who got here to evaluate the injury to his grocery retailer Thursday afternoon.

“I mentioned ‘Oh, Allah,’ in a fraction of a second the fireplace caught my store.”

Hossain’s brother took his hand they usually leaped onto the road earlier than the store was engulfed in flames.

Exterior the gutted retailer, the highway was strewn with charred automobiles, items of still-burning metallic and plastics and lots of of cans of physique deodorant.

Flames rise from a fireplace in a densely packed procuring space in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.

AP Picture/Zabed Hasnain Chowdhury

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The blaze began late Wednesday night time in a single constructing and shortly unfold to others, hearth division Director Normal Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed mentioned.

Most of the victims have been trapped contained in the buildings, mentioned Mahfuz Riben, a management room official for the Hearth Service and Civil Protection in Dhaka.

“Our groups are working there however most of the recovered our bodies are past recognition. Our persons are utilizing physique luggage to ship them to the hospital morgue, this can be a very troublesome scenario,” he advised The Related Press.

One other management room official, Russel Shikder, mentioned 81 our bodies had been recovered.

The hearth providers director, Maj. AKM Shakil Newaz, mentioned many have been taken to Dhaka Medical Faculty Hospital. Ambulances have been arriving carrying our bodies, and kinfolk have been mourning in entrance of the morgue.

Locals and firefighters gather around buildings that caught fire late Wednesday in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.

Locals and firefighters collect round buildings that caught hearth late Wednesday in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.

AP Picture/Rehman Asad

First responders have been delayed in reaching the positioning partially as a result of close by roads have been closed for nationwide vacation commemorations on Thursday. Simply after midnight as the fireplace blazed, Bangladesh’s prime minister and president laid wreaths at a monument 1.three kilometres away to commemorate protesters who died in a 1952 demonstration for the precise to talk Bengali, the native language.

Hearth officers mentioned the highway closures worsened visitors, slowing down among the hearth vans dashing to the positioning.

Most buildings in Chawkbazar are used each for residential and industrial functions regardless of warnings of the potential for top fatalities from fires after one killed a minimum of 123 folks in 2010. Authorities had promised to carry the buildings beneath rules and take away chemical warehouses from the residential buildings.

A authorities eviction drive in Chawkbazar and different areas of Outdated Dhaka was met with protests final Might proper earlier than Eid, the start of Ramadan, by enterprise homeowners and residents.

WATCH BELOW: Firefighters battle main blaze in Bangladesh

Dr. Md. Manjur Morshed, an assistant professor of city planning at Khulna College of Engineering and Know-how in Khulna, mentioned authorities rules are routinely flouted in Chawkbazar.

“This can be a historic space with a definite tradition,” he mentioned. “They don’t seem to be actually abiding by the federal government’s guidelines.”

Such tragedies are shockingly widespread in Bangladesh, the place fires, floods, ferry sinkings and different disasters commonly declare dozens of lives or extra.

In 2012, a fireplace raced by way of a garment manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing a minimum of 112 folks trapped behind its locked gates. Lower than six months later, one other constructing housing garment factories collapsed, killing greater than 1,100 folks.

Proprietor of Bangladesh manufacturing unit ravaged in hearth says he didn’t understand it wanted emergency exits

The loss of life toll from the newest hearth may nonetheless rise as a result of among the injured folks have been in essential situation, mentioned Samanta Lal Sen, head of a burn unit within the Dhaka Medical Faculty Hospital.

Sen mentioned a minimum of 9 of the critically injured folks have been being handled in his unit.

Witnesses advised native TV stations that many fuel cylinders saved within the buildings continued to blow up one after one other. They mentioned the fireplace additionally set off explosions in gasoline tanks of some automobiles that have been caught in visitors in entrance of the destroyed buildings.

Some studies advised most of the fatalities have been pedestrians, buyers or diners who died shortly as a number of fuel cylinders exploded, and the fireplace engulfed close by buildings in a short time.


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