A fire raced through the capital of Bangladesh on Wednesday night, killing at least 81 people and injuring dozens.
Fire officials say the blaze began in a partly residential four-story building in Dhaka as most people were sleeping.
The exact cause of the fire isn’t clear. DCO Global News learnt that it started at a chemical warehouse; however, sources said a compressed gas cylinder like the kind used for cooking was the cause.
Shopowner Haji Abdul Kader said he “heard a big bang,” and then “saw the whole street in flames. Flames were everywhere.” Kader’s shop was destroyed.
The fire was fed by paints and other chemicals stored in shops on the building’s ground floor, according to reports. It then spread to buildings in the centuries-old Chawkbazar neighborhood in Old Dhaka.
Two of the buildings were so badly burned that officials feared they may collapse. One of the buildings was a warehouse for a perfume company, and the plastics and chemicals stored there quickly ignited.
DCO Global News gathered that fire officials spent more than nine hours putting out the deadly fire. Many victims were trapped in buildings.
“Many of the recovered bodies are beyond recognition,” said Mahfuz Riben, a control room official of the Fire Service and Civil Defense in Dhaka. “Our people are using body bags to send them to the hospital morgue. This is a very difficult situation.”
Major fires have become relatively common in Bangladesh. In 2016, a factory fire at a packaging factory just north of Dhaka killed at least 21 people. Chemical storage was also likely to blame for the quick spread of that fire. In 2013, at least 10 were killed in a garment factory fire.
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