Bangladesh building fire: At least 46 people dead as blaze engulfs shopping mall in Dhaka

Firefighters rescued 75 people from the blaze at the seven-storey building

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A fire at a seven-storey building in an upscale neighbourhood in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka killed at least 46 people and injured dozens more late on Thursday, health authorities said.

"So far 43 people have died from the fire," Bangladesh's Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen told AFP after visiting the Dhaka Medical College Hospital and an adjoining burns hospital.

Mr Sen said at least 40 injured people were being treated in the city's main burns hospital.

Fire department official Mohammad Shihab said the blaze originated in a popular biriyani restaurant in Dhaka's Bailey Road at 9.50pm on Thursday.

It quickly spread to the upper floors, trapping scores of people.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in two hours, Mr Shihab said.

They rescued 75 people alive, a statement from the fire service said.

The Bailey Road building houses mainly restaurants and clothing and mobile phone shops.

"We were at the sixth floor when we first saw smoke racing through the staircase. A lot of people rushed upstairs," said Sohel, a restaurant manager.

"We used a water pipe to climb down the building. Some of us were injured as they jumped from upstairs."

Others were trapped on the rooftop and called out for help.

"Alhamdulillah. We are sending down all women and children including my wife and children," Kamruzzaman Majumdar, a professor of environmental science, wrote in a Facebook post.

"We all men are in rooftop. Fire service stands beside us. Fifty yet to be down."

He was later rescued safely.

Fires in apartment buildings and factory complexes are common in Bangladesh due to lax enforcement of safety rules.

In July 2021, at least 52 people, including many people, were killed when a fire swept through a food-processing factory.

In February 2019, 70 people died when a blaze swept through Dhaka apartment blocks.

Updated: March 01, 2024, 4:41 PM