A disastrous fire swept through buildings in an old part of Bangladesh's capital, leaving at least 69 killed and 50 injured, AP has reported on Thursday February 21st.
The blaze, in Dhaka, started late Wednesday night in one building but quickly spread to others, fire department Director General, Brigadier General Ali Ahmed, said. It was mostly under control after more than nine hours of strenuous efforts by firefighters.
The death toll rose to 69, with many of the victims trapped inside the buildings, said Mahfuz Riben, a control room official of the Fire Service and Civil Defense, adding that the number of victims could still rise as the condition of some of the injured people was critical.
"Our teams are working there but many of the recovered bodies are beyond recognition. Our people are using body bags to send them to the hospital morgue, this is a very difficult situation," he told AP by phone.
The Chawkbazar area where the fire was burning is crammed with a mix of residential and commercial buildings separated by narrow alleys. Some floors of the destroyed buildings had chemicals and plastic in storage.
Witnesses told local TV stations that many gas cylinders stored in the buildings continued to explode one after another.
Earlier this week on Sunday, February 17th, a fire tore through a slum in southern Bangladesh, killing at least nine people and destroying hundreds of shanty houses.