Crowd hampers rescue drive

Staff Correspondent

28th March, 2019 10:48:53 printer

The rescue operation during the fire at FR Tower at Banani on Thursday was disrupted by various factors.

Huge fume, scarcity of water, gathering of huge crowds on the streets, and insufficient logistics were the key reasons behind the difficulties in the rescue and firefighting operation, according to Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD).

One of the four ladder cranes FSCD has could not be used for technical fault.

“The fire that broke out on the seventh or eighth floor of the 17-storey building could be diffused at about 5:00 pm. But firefighters had to face traffic jam on their way to the spot and after reaching the spot, they did not find sufficient water supply to douse the inferno,” said an FSCD official wishing not to be named.

Water vehicles of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) rushed to the spot to supply water to the firefighters.

But by this time, hundreds of people around the area gathered at the spot. The whole Kemal Ataturk Avenue was filled with eager crowds, making the traffic situation worse.

The water vehicles had to pass through a huge gathering of people and traffic congestion to reach the spot. Besides, the injured rescued victims had to be carried on shoulders as ambulance could hardly enter the spot due to the huge gathering of people all over the streets in front of the FR Tower.

However, people were seen helping rescue operation in whatever way they can. They carried water hose pipe during the rescue operation so that the water can flow through the pipe easily.

Four crane ladders of FSCD reached the spot for the rescue operation, but one did not work. Angry people threw plastic bottles, kicked with their legs and hands at the ladder and rebuked the firefighters.

Army and Police personnel brought the situation under control. When asked, a firefighter seeking anonymity told the daily sun that the ladder did not work due to mechanical faults.

The three ladder cranes can reach up to 15-storey, but the FR Tower is a 22-storey building.

Despite the hectic efforts, the firefighters could not reach the stories above 15th storey though trapped people inside the complex were waving their hands with their clothes for rescuing them.

Deputy Director of FSCD Debashis Bardhan said the tower had huge flammable substances.

The decoration of the corporate offices inside the tower was made of foam and synthetic fibres materials that created huge fume, disrupting the rescue operation.

Besides, piles of cockshit and paper caused the thick fume.