• en

Bangladesh: Tragedy Strikes Dhaka as Massive Fire Claims 43 Lives 

22 persons with severe burns are reportedly in critical condition at hospitals

 A devastating fire has reportedly erupted overnight in a six-storey building in the heart of Dhaka, claiming the lives of at least 43 people and leaving dozens injured, according to Bangladesh’s health minister. 

The blaze originated in a popular biryani restaurant on Bailey Road late Thursday, rapidly engulfing the entire structure, which housed various establishments.

Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen reported that 22 individuals with severe burns are in critical condition at hospitals, emphasizing the gravity of the incident. 

The cause of the fire remains unclear, but fire service officials, who brought the blaze under control after two hours, are investigating potential factors.

Survivor Mohammad Altaf shared a harrowing account, narrowly escaping through a broken window while tragically losing two coworkers in the process. The fire’s toll is particularly poignant, with many families gathering at hospitals to receive the bodies of their loved ones. 

Doctors revealed that most victims succumbed to suffocation, while some perished attempting to escape by jumping from the building.

Firefighters, utilizing cranes, conducted rescue operations, navigating the perilous conditions of the charred building. Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence Director Brigadier General Main Uddin suggested the fire might have originated from a gas leak or stove, highlighting the hazardous conditions within the building.

The tragedy underscores concerns about safety standards in buildings catering to Bangladesh’s domestic economy. While the garment sector has seen improvements following disasters in 2012 and 2013, other industries lack comparable safety measures. 

The building in question reportedly had gas cylinders on every floor, contributing to the severity of the incident.

A five-member committee has been formed to investigate the cause of the fire, with authorities intensifying efforts to prevent such tragedies in the future. Dhaka’s densely populated landscape has witnessed numerous fire incidents, often attributed to inadequate safety measures in the face of rapid urban development.

This brings to mind memories of past incidents, including a food processing factory fire in July 2021 that claimed 54 lives and a fire in February 2019 that engulfed a historic area of Dhaka, resulting in the death of at least 70 people. 

The latest incident prompts renewed calls for enhanced safety measures and regulatory oversight to prevent further loss of life in Bangladesh.

Chioma Kalu

Follow us on: