Seven people were rescued but no casualties were reported
A three-storey building in Dhaka’s Keraniganj area has collapsed and toppled into a nearby swamp.
The building at Charail Khelarmath area came crashing down around 8:20am on Friday trapping seven people inside, said Faruq Ahmed, senior station officer of Keraniganj Fire Service.
Upon receiving information, seven units of Fire Service and Civil Defence rushed to the spot and rescued five of them around 9:30am while two managed to get out on their own immediately after the incident. All of them were sent to Mitford Hospital with minor injuries, he said.
“Six families had been living in the building constructed without proper piling works,” said Faruq.
A probe body will soon be formed in this connection, the fire service official added.
Faruq said the building was constructed over a swamp. The 20-year-old building collapsed as it was standing on a weak foundation.
Replying to a query regarding the building’s necessary permits, he said: “These issues are the concerns of the upazila or municipal authorities.”
Amit Dev Nath, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Keraniganj, said: “We have formed a seven-member probe body, with the chief engineer of the upazila as head, to investigate how it was built on a swamp and the reason behind the crash. The body was asked to submit the report within three working days.”
The upazila administrator stressed the lack of coordination between his administration and Rajuk since the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) of Rajuk now covers the area.
Keraniganj Model police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Mainul Islam said the residents from another five adjacent buildings were evacuated to avoid any risk.
Assistant Commissioner (Land) Sunjida Parvin, announced the adjacent buildings as abandoned as there were cracks on the walls.
Sunjida told Dhaka Tribune the upazila authorities did not receive any complaint that the structures were illegally built.
However, quoting local representatives she said the buildings were constructed on a privately owned waterbody.
Utility services, like gas and power, have been cut off from all of the buildings that were announced abandoned.
According to the police, the owner of the toppled building is Jane Alam, 48. He lived there with his family.
The reason behind the collapse
Experts attribute the frequent building collapses to faulty design, poor construction work, product failure, and not following building codes and regulatory requirements.
The Keraniganj building was also a result of faulty construction, poor workmanship as it was constructed without adequate piling works on a shallow ground.
Piling is defined as being foundations that are driven or bored through the ground along a certain length of the area to carry and transfer loads to soil considered to be weak in structure due to the soil conditions.
Fires and building collapses in Bangladesh
Incidents of building collapse are fairly regular in the country due to poor planning and the use of substandard materials.
On April 24, 2013, the collapse of the Rana Plaza building on the outskirts of Dhaka left at least 1,132 people dead and more than 2,500 injured.
Barely five months earlier, at least 112 workers lost their lives after getting trapped inside the burning Tazreen Fashions factory, also on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Seventy people died after a devastating fire raged through several apartment buildings used as chemical warehouses in the capital’s old part, Chawkbazar, on February 21, 2019.