Dhaka: Massive fire rips through chemical warehouses, kills 69
At least 69 people were killed yesterday night as a massive fire ripped through several buildings also used as chemical and plastic warehouses in an old part of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. The fire broke out in Old Dhaka's Chawkbazar area. Officials said that the death toll could still rise further as many people are still trapped in those buildings. Here's more.
The fire broke out at a chemical warehouse on the ground floor of a four-storey building named Hazi Wahed Mansion behind a mosque in Old Dhaka's Chawkbazar area. The flames quickly spread through four other buildings nearby, including a community center, said fire officials.
The fire officials informed that the death toll could rise further as dozens of people are trapped in the buildings and the firefighters are yet to enter the main spot where the fire broke out. Most of the bodies were retrieved from the houses around the main four-storey building while firefighters now prepare to enter that building in search of more bodies.
Witnesses said the victims also included passersby, some people who were eating food at the nearby restaurants and some members of a wedding party. Fire officials said the second, third and fourth floors of the building were used as warehouses and plastic factories and there were also some residential flats. The injured are being treated at Dhaka's two major state-run facilities.
Over 50 wounded people are being treated at Dhaka Medical College Hospital's burn unit and Sir Salimullah Medical College. Many people were injured after they jumped off the main building. 37 fire-fighting units were moved to the scene but narrow lanes made it difficult for fire engines to reach the spot forcing the firefighters to use long hose pipes to set off the blaze.
A nearly identical incident of fire in 2010 in an old Dhaka building, which was also used as a chemical warehouse, killed more than 120 people in one of the worst fire tragedies in Bangladesh. It had sparked a public outcry, demanding the relocation of chemical warehouses and stores from the area, but little has been done in the last nine years.