At least 81 people were killed and around 41 others injured in a devastating fire that broke out at a chemical warehouse and raged through four other adjacent buildings in the city’s Chawkbazar area on Wednesday night.
Major AKM Shakil Newaz, Director (Operation and Maintenance) of Fire Service and Civil Defence, at a press briefing on the spot in the morning told reporters that a total of 70 bodies were recovered from the buildings.
Besides, 11 others succumbed to their injuries at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), duty officer at the Fire Service Central Control Room Rasel Shikder told UNB around 4:15pm.
Shakil Newaz said 41 people were rescued alive while the flame was doused at 6:30am. A total of 39 units of firefighters took part in extinguishing the fire.
Besides, two helicopters of Bangladesh Air Force sprayed water and chemical from the sky to help douse the flame and keep the atmosphere of the area cool, said Rasel.
The rescue operation was called off at 12:22pm, he said, adding that two units of firefighters, however, remained deployed there.
Mahfuz Rivan, a control room duty officer, all the bodies were sent to the DMCH for autopsy.
The deceased included five women and three children and 65 bodies were kept at the morgue, said Inspector Bachchu Mia, in-charge of DMCH police camp.
He said 16 injured people were admitted to the hospital while 21 others received primary treatment.
Meanwhile, the DMCH authorities started handing over the bodies to their relatives following identification.
The reason behind the fire will be clear after investigation, said Shakil Newaz.
Meanwhile, a three-member body has been formed to investigate the incident which was asked to submit its report within seven working days, the fire service official said.
Duty officer at the Fire Service Central Control Room Ziaur Rahman on Wednesday night said the fire originated at the chemical warehouse on the ground floor of a four-storey building at Churihaat around 10:38pm.
Later, it spread to four other buildings fast.
Sources at the Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters said 37 firefighting units brought the fire under control around 2:55am on Thursday.
Contacted, Deputy Director (Operations and Maintenance) of FSCD headquarters Dilip Kumar told UNB around 7:23 am that the fire was brought under control around 2:55am and it needed more time to douse the flame as it engulfed four more buildings.
Visiting the spot our Keraniganj correspondent reports: The fire broke out at Wahed Mansion, a four-story building that also housed a market and a chemical warehouse.
Around 80 people of 40 families lived on the 3rd and 4th floors of the building, said locals.
The blaze flipped through a six-storey building, a restaurant a community centre and another building very rapidly.
Chawkbazar thana police said they have prepared a list of 16 people who have remained missing since the fire incident.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment will provide Tk 1 lakh to the families of each deceased and Tk 50,000 to the injured victims for their treatment, information officer of the ministry Akhtarul Islam told UNB.