45 people die as building catches fire in Dhaka

Relatives of the victims break down in tears at the hospital.Dipu Malakar

At least 45 people have died and 22 injured in a fire that broke out in a multi-storey building in the capital's Baily Road area. The death-toll is feared to rise as some of the injured are in critical conditions and some casualties may remain unattended on the site.

The fire originated in the seven-storey building around 9:45 pm on Thursday. On information, 13 units of Fire Service rushed to the spot and managed to bring the flame under control around 11:50 pm.

They brought the victims out of the building and took them to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.

The fire spread rapidly as there were gas cylinders in the restaurants of the building.

Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen told the newsmen around 2:00 am that at least 43 people died in the incident and that the bodies were kept at the two hospitals. He feared that there might be some more fatalities beyond the count.

Regarding the injured, the health minister said 14 are receiving treatment in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, while eight others in the burn and plastic surgery institute. They all are in critical health conditions.

Around half an hour later, the inspector general of police (IGP), Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, visited the medical college hospital and briefed the media that they learned about 44 deaths in total, including one in the Central Police Hospital at Rajarbagh.

Firefighters rescued dozens of people from the building.
Shuvro Kanti Das

The building houses some prominent eateries, including Kacchi Bhai, and a clothing shop. It usually sees a rush in the evening, with people hanging out with their near and dear ones at the restaurants.

According to locals, the fire originated on the ground floor and later engulfed the upper ones. Some 13 firefighting units went to the spot immediately and brought the blaze under control after hours of frantic efforts. They rescued dozens of people from the site, using cranes.

Brigadier General Md Main Uddin, the director general of Fire Service and Civil Defense, told the media around 1:15 am that the building houses restaurants on all floors, except for a clothing shop on the third floor. The fire engulfed the building rapidly as many gas cylinders of the restaurants went off in flame.

A man is being rescued during the fire.
Shuvro Kanti Das

A Fire Service member said there were many large gas cylinders in the building. The people could not leave the site due to explosions of the cylinders.

Citing Fire Service and locals, Kamrul Hasan, additional superintendent of police of RAB-3, said the fire originated there due to a cylinder explosion in a coffee shop on the ground floor.