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Bangladesh: Three arrested in connection with Dhaka fire that killed 46 people

The blaze at the shopping mall killed 46 individuals while over 20 people were hospitalised in critical condition. The fire may have been caused due to a gas leak or a stove, say fire authorities, as it quickly spread to the upper floors.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Dhaka Published on: March 02, 2024 15:03 IST
Bangladesh, Dhaka fire, people arrested
Image Source : REUTERS The deadly fire that broke out at a shopping mall in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Dhaka: Bangladesh police have arrested three persons, including two owners of a restaurant, in connection with the massive fire that broke out at a shopping mall in the capital late on Thursday, claiming the lives of 46 people. The fire erupted at the 'Kacchi Bhai' restaurant on the first floor of the building, Green Cozy Cottage, and quickly spread to the upper floors that had more restaurants and a garment shop, according to fire service officials.

Two owners of an eatery called Chumuk and the manager of Kacchi Bhai restaurant were arrested on Friday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner Kh Mahid Uddin said. "The fire started from the food shop on the ground floor of the building. The police will file a case over negligence in connection with the deaths in the fire incident," said the police official.

Legal action will be taken against whoever is found responsible in this incident, further said the police, adding that the trio arrested are being interrogated. Additionally, the building where the fire broke out, had permission for office use and was not allowed to house restaurants, said Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), responsible for approving building designs in the city.

Despite not having permission, the building housed eight restaurants, a juice bar and a tea and coffee shop. Ashraful Islam, Town Planner and Director of the Detailed Area Planning (DAP) project of Rajuk said commercial approval had been taken for the building from one to seven floors, and there was no approval for restaurants, showrooms, or anything else.

46 killed, over 20 injured in massive fire

Despite the valiant efforts of firefighters, the blaze claimed the lives of 46 individuals, while at least 22 others sustained injuries. The injured were promptly transported to nearby medical facilities for treatment. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed shock and sorrow at the incident, ordering swift treatment for the injured.

Fire authorities said a gas leak or a stove could have caused Thursday's blaze in the capital, which spread quickly after breaking out in a biryani restaurant, and was only brought under control following two hours of effort by 13 units of firefighters. The injured people were rushed to hospital in critical condition.

One survivor, Mohammad Altaf, recounted his narrow escape from the blaze that killed two colleagues. "I went to the kitchen, broke a window and jumped to save myself," he told reporters, adding that a cashier and server who urged people to leave during the first moments had died later.

Relatives gathered at the hospital early on Friday to receive the bodies of the dead, with some mourning outside the emergency department. "I could not save my daughter," wailed Abdul Quddus, the father of Nimu, whose relatives said she was among a group of five cousins and friends who all died in the fire.

Fires common in Bangladesh

The fire could have originated from a gas leak or stove, said Brigadier General Main Uddin, a top fire service official. "It was a dangerous building with gas cylinders on every floor, even on the stairs," he told Reuters. Meanwhile, the government has set up a five-member panel to investigate the incident, amid accusations from the main opposition party.

Intense scrutiny of Bangladesh and the major global clothing retailers that manufacture there has helped prevent disasters in the garment sector since a fire in 2012 and a building collapse in 2013 together killed more than 1,200 workers. But in other industries, mainly catering to the booming domestic economy and lacking equal emphasis on safety, hundreds of people have died in fires.

Fires are common in densely populated Dhaka, where many new buildings have sprung up, many lacking adequate safety measures. Fires and explosions have resulted from faulty gas cylinders, air conditioners and poor electrical wiring. At least 54 people, including children, died in a fire at a food processing factory outside Dhaka.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Bangladesh: 46 killed, many injured after fire breaks out at building in Dhaka | VIDEO

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