The fire in Dhaka’s Chawkbazar area was mostly under control after more than 10 hours of frantic efforts by firefighters.
A devastating fire raced through densely packed buildings in a centuries-old shopping district in Bangladesh’s capital, killing at least 81 people.
The district dating to the Mughal era 400 years ago is crammed with buildings separated by narrow alleys, with residences commonly above shops, restaurants or warehouses on the ground floors
Some reports suggested many of the dead were pedestrians, shoppers or diners who died quickly as several gas cylinders exploded, and the fire engulfed the nearby buildings very quickly.
First responders were delayed reaching the site in part because nearby roads were closed for national holiday commemorations on Thursday
The blaze started late Wednesday night in one building but quickly spread to others, fire department Director General Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed said.
“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 the Associated Press by phone
Most buildings in Chawkbazar are used both for residential and commercial purposes despite warnings of the potential for high fatalities from fires after one had killed at least 123 people in 2010. Authorities had promised to bring the buildings under regulations and remove chemical warehouses from the residential buildings.
The cause is being investigated.
Image for Illustration.