Deadly fire kills over 40 in Dhaka, death toll may rise

Bangladesh fire

A devastating fire has raced through buildings in an old part of Bangladesh's capital, causing casualties. Proceedings have dragged however, and prosecutors say a verdict could take five more years. Hundreds of people rushed to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital to search for missing relatives, witnesses said.

The blaze broke out in a four-storey building on Wednesday in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

It took almost 200 firefighters and more than five hours to contain the blaze in the area which, locals claimed, was home to more than three million people.

"There was a traffic jam when the fire broke out. It spread so quickly that people could not escape", he said, describing a part of town where the streets are very narrow and residential buildings stand just centimetres apart.

Witnesses said members of a bridal party in a nearby community centre were also caught in the fire and many of them were injured. Authorities had promised to bring the buildings into line with regulations and remove chemical warehouses from the residential buildings.

A government eviction drive in Chawkbazar and other areas of Old Dhaka was met with protests last May right before Eid, the beginning of Ramadan, by business owners and residents. "After the Nimtoli tragedy, we urged our local leaders not to allow any more godowns that are a danger for us", he added, referring to a 2010 fire that claimed 124 lives.

The collapse of the nine-story Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka on April 24, 2013, is one of the world's worst industrial accidents.

Officials in the capital city of Dhaka believe the fire started when a gas cylinder exploded in the warehouse, where perfumes and plastics are stored.

In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, photo, firefighters and local people help douse a fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They said the building where the fire began had housed a plastics warehouse and contained flammable material.

About 50 people, including children, were also injured and admitted to nearby hospitals, Al Jazeera reported. Many victims were trapped in buildings, one fire official told the AP.

According to the divisional commissioner, 41 people are undergoing treatment at different hospitals in the city and the bodies have been kept at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital morgue.

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