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21.02.2019 18:05 News >> Update - Bangladesh: Fire Kills At Least 70 İn Capital Dhaka

Update - Bangladesh: Fire Kills At Least 70 İn Capital Dhaka

Preliminary probe finds car fire spread to multi story building hosing chemicals.

At least 70 people were killed when a massive fire spread through several apartment blocks and roads in a congested area of this capital, a fire service official said Thursday.

The fire from a private car on the road spread instantly Wednesday night to an adjacent multi-story building where chemical were kept in "unsafe conditions", according to the preliminary findings of the fire service.

"We have found huge amounts of materials, including body spray, body lotion and other cosmetics which are highly inflammable, stored in a chemical warehouse," Fire Service and Civil Defense Director AKM Shakil Neoaz told Anadolu Agency.

An extensive investigation is required to learn details and a three-member committee was formed to file a report within seven days to dig out the causes and damages of the incident, Neoaz said.

According to an Anadolu Agency reporter on the ground, the fire destroyed scores of vehicles, including 15 motorbikes, three private cars, and dozens of rickshaws and vans.

"At around 10.30 p.m. (0400GMT), I heard a loud noise and saw blazes covering a private car. Instantly, another car near to it blasted and thus fire spread rapidly," witness Mohammad Saydul Islam told Anadolu Agency.

He said there were two restaurants with big gas cylinders which were used for cooking on the sides of the road.

"Within a few seconds, both of the gas cylinders exploded simultaneously and fire flared up."

Another witness, Golam Sarwar, told Anadolu Agenct the fire broke out on the ground floor of the apartment building, which had several shops.

The first floor was being used as a warehouse for plastic goods, cosmetics and perfume, while some families were living on the upper floors, he added.

Visiting the scene Thursday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said the government is determined to remove all chemical warehouses from the old part of the city.

All the victims will be compensated and the damaged buildings will be repaired soon upon the instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he added.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mohammad Enamur Rahman told Anadolu Agency that already 2 million Bangladeshi Taka ($24,000) allocated for the treatment of the victims.

"We have also allocated 20,000 Bangladeshi ($238) for the burial of each body", he added.

Meanwhile, the relatives of the victims rushed to the morgue of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital to identify bodies.

Secretary-General of the ruling Ruling Awami League party Obaidul Quader told reporters the government would take all necessary precautions to avert any further such disaster in the future following an investigation.

"This is a great lesson for us and we will take all necessary initiatives including removal of plastic warehouses to make the old part of the capital safe," said Quader, who is also road, transport and bridges minister.

Turkey offered condolences to Bangladesh on Thursday.

"We wish Allah's mercy upon those who lost their lives in the fire, convey our condolences to the families of the victims and to the friendly and brotherly people and Government of Bangladesh, and wish speedy recovery to the wounded," Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

This old part of the capital has been marked as one of the fire-prone areas due to unsafe chemical storages in buildings for decades.

In 2010, 124 people were killed in a horrific fire in the Nimtoli area of the old part of the capital.

* Fatih Hafiz Mehmet contributed from Ankara. -



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