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Dhaka Tribune

Massive fire at Mirpur slum under control, thousands homeless

Four people sustained injuries due to the fire

Update : 16 Aug 2019, 07:55 PM

The massive fire that ravaged several thousand shanties at a slum in Mirpur 7 of Dhaka, has been tamed. 

As many as 125 firefighters brought the blaze under control just before midnight on Friday, according to the Fire Service and Civil Defence.

The huge fire turned thousands of the lower-income slum residents homeless and left nothing for them other than charred valuables, and despair.

The dwellers just fled their homes with whatever they found at hand. Their cries made the entire atmosphere gloomier, burdened with thoughts of their uncertain future.

Locals along with the fire fighters are also seen struggling to douse the fire that broke out at a slum in Dhaka's Mirpur on Friday, August 16, 2019 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

As many as 24 firefighting units were deployed at the scene when the fire erupted at the Jhilpar slum around 7:22pm, and Fire Service responded around 7:28pm, according to Fire Service Duty Officer Ershad Hossain. 

Lt Col Zillur Rahman, director (operations and maintenance) of Fire Service, said there was no news of deaths. 

However, Fire Service sources said at least four people including a firefighter were injured in the incident.

Of them, firefighter Jewel Rana was taken to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital. Two others - Kabir and Habib - were taken to different hospital in Mirpur.

Police, RAB, Wasa, and other volunteers also assisted the Fire Service personnel.

Rupnagar police station Inspector (Investigation) Golam Rabbani said: "We have deployed enough police personnel to ensure that everything remains under control. 

Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam and State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman visited the spot.

The mayor said they with the help of other authorities they would take whatever steps necessary to assist the affected people.

According to locals, the fire also spread to a nearby building, but it was difficult to say if anyone was inside.

A huge fire which originated from a slum in Dhaka's Mirpur turned the sky orange on Friday, August 16, 2019  Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Locals say there are over 1,000 shanties in the slum, and most of the dwellers were away because of Eid-ul-Azha.

Many slum dwellers were in tears, and lamented that their homes were all completely destroyed. 

Some said they felt so much despair, and had no idea where to go or what to do.

Locals also said around 100,000 people lived in the slum, all of them being in the lower-income group. 

Most of the shanties were made of wood, or bamboo, with the roofs covered with polythene. So the fire spread quickly, they added.

Locals also suspect the fire may have originated from a short circuit, or from a stove.

Shathi Akther, a house wife, said she rushed out from her home with two children. Her husband, Md Shohag, a small trader, helped in getting them out, but himself was missing.  

Saidur Rahman, a rickshaw puller, said he managed to escape the blaze. He lived with 10 other family members in the slum. 

"Everyone was in the same situation; nobody was able to come out with anything. We are poor people. I do not know what to do, or where to go," he added.

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