Fire in Dhaka’s upscale area kills 44, injures 22

Fire in Dhaka

Dhaka: A devastating fire that erupted in a seven-story building in Dhaka’s Bailey Road, an upscale area of the Bangladeshi capital, claimed the lives of 44 people and left 22 others in critical condition, officials said on Friday.

The fire started in a popular biryani restaurant on the first floor of the building, named Green Cozy Cottage, around 9:50 pm local time on Thursday and quickly spread to the upper floors, where several other restaurants, clothing and mobile phone shops were located, according to fire service officials.

The flames were so intense that they engulfed the entire building and also damaged a nearby clothing store, witnesses said. Firefighters battled the blaze for more than two hours and managed to rescue 75 people from the building, of whom 42 were unconscious.

The rescued people were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery, where 44 of them succumbed to their injuries, Bangladesh’s Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen said after visiting the hospitals.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which was one of the deadliest in the country’s history. A five-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident.

Fire service director Brigadier General Main Uddin said the fire could have originated from a gas leak or stove¹. He also said the building was dangerous as it had gas cylinders on every floor, even on the staircases.

Fire in Dhaka

Many people were dining with their families, including children, in the building when the fire broke out. Some of them managed to escape by breaking windows and using water pipes, while others were trapped on the rooftop and jumped to their deaths, survivors and doctors said.

Fires in apartment buildings and factories are common in Bangladesh due to poor enforcement of safety regulations. In July 2021, a fire in a food processing factory killed 52 people, including many children. In February 2019, a massive inferno ripped through several apartment blocks in Dhaka, killing 70 people.