Bangladesh building fire toll rises to 46, dozens injured

By REUTERS
March 02, 2024
Police officers stand outside the commercial building on Bailey Road in Dhaka. — EPA

DHAKA: A massive fire in Bangladesh that raged through a six-storey building home to restaurants where many families with children were dining has killed at least 46 people and injured dozens, the health minister said on Friday.

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Fire authorities said a gas leak or a stove could have caused Thursday’s blaze in the capital, which spread quickly after breaking out in a biryani restaurant, and was only brought under control following two hours of effort by 13 units of firefighters.Hospitals were treating 22 people with burns, Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen told reporters.“All 22 people ... are in critical condition,” Sen, himself a well-known physician, said after a visit to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. “We are trying our best to save their lives.”Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed shock and sorrow at the incident, ordering swift treatment for the injured.

She urged adherence to construction rules and regulations, including requirements for essential safety features such as fire exits and ventilation systems to prevent such tragedies in the future.

One survivor, Mohammad Altaf, recounted his narrow escape from the blaze that killed two colleagues.“I went to the kitchen, broke a window and jumped to save myself,” he told reporters, adding that a cashier and server who urged people to leave during the first moments had died later.

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