56 killed as fire breaks out at warehouse in Dhaka

A almost 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.

Another control room official, Russel Shikder, said 81 bodies had been recovered.

The fire broke out in a building with shops on its ground floor, a warehouse for plastics and flammable material on the first, and homes on three floors above, said Shamim Harun ur Rashid, a local police official.

It took almost 200 firefighters and more than five hours to contain the blaze in the area which, locals claimed, was home to more than three million people.

Officials said the firefighters struggled to get close to the scene because of heavy traffic and narrow alleys that were busy when the fire started.

The death toll from a fire in a centuries-old area of the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, jumped dramatically to 56 people, a fire official said on Thursday, and could continue to rise. "It spread so quickly that people could not escape", he said, describing a part of town where the streets are very narrow and residential buildings stand just centimetres apart.

Dhaka authorities launched a crackdown on chemical warehouses in residential areas following the blaze, but efforts to rein in the practice have waned.


"This is a historic area with a distinct culture", he said.

Mainul Khan, a journalist in Dhaka, told DW that the fire is believed to have started when a gas-fueled vehicle exploded.

The officials earlier said 37 fire fighting units were moved to the scene but narrow lanes made it hard for fire engines to reach the spot forcing the fire fighters to use long hose pipes to set off the blaze.

Bangladeshis carry coffins of relatives who were killed in the fire from a morgue on Thursday. "This is not like any other fire", he said, adding the inferno became so devastating due to the "highly combustible" chemicals stored there. TV images showed the gates to one building were chained up so residents were unable to escape. More than 1,100 people were killed and another 2,000 were injured in the tragedy.

Following the fire many people were seen looking for missing relatives at the nearby Dhaka Medical College Hospital, the Daily Star reported.

Dozens of injured were admitted to hospital during the night, many in a critical condition....


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