2,088 fires in residential buildings last year

66pc buildings in Dhaka division unplanned
Financial losses stood at Tk 525 crore
Electric short circuits behind 99 percent incidents

3 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh witnessed 8,461 incidents of fire at residential buildings last year with most of them occurring in Dhaka Division, according to a report.

These fires inflicted financial losses amounting to Tk 525 crore, Dataful, an online database, reported citing the fire service, reports UNB.

A quarter of these fires - 2,088 - were reported in Dhaka Division while the least - 194 - took place in Sylhet Division.

Thirty-nine percent of the total reported fire incidents across the country were sparked by electric short-circuits, while 19 percent were caused by gas and 15 percent from cigarette buds, Dataful, a data journalism initiative, reported.

The finding is alarming, and yet unsurprising, since about 66 percent buildings in capital Dhaka and its adjoining areas under Rajuk have been constructed in an unplanned way. Many of these buildings do not have approval while some others flouted their approved designs.

Casualties and damage are often high as most buildings do not have adequate firefighting measures.

A fire in Old Dhaka in February killed 70 people. Last week, a blaze at Banani's FR Tower left 26 people dead while the fire at DNCC market saw many shops being burned to the ground.

These incidents exposed the grim reality, urban planners say, urging the government to strengthen its agencies concerned and form a committee to work on fire safety.

They also recommended stopping construction of risky buildings and retrofitting or removing the risky ones.