A devastating fire swept through two slums in Bhasantek area of Mirpur-14 in the wee hours of Thursday, leaving two minor children dead.
The deceased were identified as two-and-a-half-year-old Tonmoy and three-month-old Yesmin, according to fire service and police officers.The fire gutted hundreds of shanties in two slums next to the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP) in Bhasantek. Witnesses said the CRP was saved narrowly from the fire.
The fire incident occurred eight days after a deadly fire in Chawkbazar that left at least 69 people dead on February 20.
The fire broke out around 1:30 am on early Thursday and spread rapidly, said Ershad Hossain, duty officer at Fire Service control room.
On information, 21 fire-fighting units rushed to the spot and brought the blaze under control at around 3:00 am, he added.
According to Fire Service officials, the blaze broke out at one of the shanties before spreading throughout the slums. Some 1000 shanties were burned to ashes in the massive fire.
Mahfuz Riben, an officer of the Fire Service control room, said divers of Fire Service and Civil Defence recovered the bodies of the two minors around 12:15 pm.Slum dwellers and fire services officials said no one was killed in the fire.
However, police said they (two minor children) were not killed by fire. They may have fallen down to the ditch in the chaos while the fire ensued.
Sujon, a slum dweller said the fire originated from the east side of the slum at around 1:30 am. The fire spread to the nearby police line very quickly.
“The slums were built on the ditch. On the opposite side of the slum is Dhamalkot Kajal’s Tech slum. The slum was evicted on February 19. A section of the slum dwellers took shelter in Jahangir’s slums” he added.
Liton, a slum dweller, said: “I did not understand how the fire started. But someone says that it was started from stove fire. Someone told us about an electrical short circuit. Others said that a vested group set the fire.”
Locals said around 100,000 people used to live in two slums. The victims got trapped inside the slums as the fire began when the slum dwellers were asleep.
Sabbir Ahmed, officer-in-charge of Bhashantek Police Station, said some 1000 shanties were gutted in the fire.
However, the origin of the fire could not be confirmed yet.
A three-member probe committee was formed to investigate the fire. The committee has been asked to submit the report within seven days.