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Minute-by-minute: Korail slum fire put out

  • Published at 03:52 am March 16th, 2017
  • Last updated at 05:48 pm March 16th, 2017
Minute-by-minute: Korail slum fire put out
4:24pm: Fire Service and Civil Defence Assistant Director Masudur Rahman says: "The fire has been put out. Our team is still on the spot. "They are helping the dwellers clean the place." 3:47pm: Eleven-year-old slum dweller Sithi says: "My school dress has been burnt in the fire. I can no longer go to school. I have no idea when I will be able to join school." 1:10pm: “I have been living in Korail slum for six years, but, a large number of my family members have been here for a longer period. We will not leave this place,” says Shahida, a RMG worker, who lives in a rented shanty. “We expect that the landlord, like previous times, will repair our house so that we do not leave the place," she added. 12:50pm- Although the slum dwellers claim around 2500-3000 houses were burnt down in the blaze, fire service officials say the number is closer to 500. 12:30pm- Lucky Akhter, a ninth grader student and a also a slum dweller, says she brought books worth Tk10,000 on Wednesday but all of them were burnt down. She says: “We are pretty sure that this is a case of arson. If the government told us, we would have been shifted to another place. There was no point to setting fire to our belongings." 12:16pm- Fifty-year-old slum dweller Jarina says: "The fire was an act of sabotage. Everything that I had has been burnt to ashes in the fire." [caption id="attachment_52824" align="aligncenter" width="690"]Abu Hayat Mahmud/DHAKA TRIBUNE Abu Hayat Mahmud/DHAKA TRIBUNE[/caption] 11:54am- The Fire Service and Civil Defence Department forms a three member probe committee to investigate into the incident. 11:41am- Brac opens a primary treatment centre while police have opened a control room in Boubazar to help the victims. 11:30am- DNCC Ward 19 Councilor Mohammad Nasir visits the slum. 11:14am- Mohammad Khokon, slum dweller and also a television shop owner, says: "We live in a land owned by the government. The way the fire broke out and spread last night, we feel someone might have set fire to the slum using petrol." 11:09am- Dogs were burnt in the blaze, reports our correspondent Abu Hayat Mahmud. 10:57am- Slum dwellers take out goods from the burnt houses, reports our correspondent Abu Hayat Mahmud. [caption id="attachment_52807" align="alignnone" width="690"]Mahmud Hossain Opu/DHAKA TRIBUNE Mahmud Hossain Opu/DHAKA TRIBUNE[/caption] 10:20am- "We can not confirm the reason behind the fire before the investigation is completed," Mayor Annisul says. 10:20am- Mayor Annisul assures total support to the affected families.
Also Read- Were the Dhaka slum fires arson?
10:07am- Shopkeeper Selim says 40,000 people have been affected in the blaze. 9:50am- Fire areas -- Boubazar, Jamaibazar, Comilla Potti, Barisal Potti, Puran Kapor -- were mainly affected in the fire, reports our correspondent Abu Hayat Mahmud. 9:41am-Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Mayor Annisul Huq visits Korail slum. [caption id="attachment_52801" align="aligncenter" width="690"]Abu Hayat Mahmud/DHAKA TRIBUNE Abu Hayat Mahmud/DHAKA TRIBUNE[/caption] 9:20am- The firefighters reached the spot an hour after the fire broke, claims the slum dwellers. 9:05am- Sattar, a shopkeeper at Boubazar, says the fire originated from a small food shop. He says: "Me and my brother lost goods worth Tk6 lakh in the fire." 7:50am- Shomoresh Kumar Biswas, deputy director of Fire Service and Civil Defence in Dhaka, says the fire has been brought under control but they are yet to ascertain the reason behind the blaze. [caption id="attachment_52784" align="aligncenter" width="800"]A journalist took this picture of Korail slum fire with his mobile phone from Gulshan bridge area Courtesy A journalist took this picture of Korail slum fire with his mobile phone from Gulshan bridge area Courtesy[/caption] 3:40am- Control room on-duty officer Mizanur Rahman confirms that the fire broke out around 2:50am and firefighters are on their way to the spot. 3:30am- A journalist tells the Dhaka Tribune over phone that he has spotted several hundred people, apparently slum dwellers, on the adjacent streets outside of the perimeter of the fire with their belongings.
Also Read- Fear of eviction haunts Korail slum residents
3:15am- Couple of slum dwellers tells the Dhaka Tribune that they have seen two shanties beside the Boubazar mosque on fire around 2am. Soon after, alarm was sounded from the mosque's loudspeakers, at which point thousands of residents scrambled to escape with their belongings. They say at least a thousand homes has been burned down. No casualties were reported as of yet.
Also Read- Korail fire razes over 500 houses within hours
[caption id="attachment_52781" align="aligncenter" width="800"]korail fire A good number of people are seen taking pictures of the Karail slum fire[/caption] 2:50am- Fire breaks out at Korail slum in Dhaka's Gulshan area. Another massive fire in December 4 last year, which broke out in a portion of the Korail Boubazar slum, destroyed homes and belongings of more than 500 families. This was the second fire in the Korail slum in 2016, with one earlier in March.
Also Read- ‘All hell broke loose’
The Korail slum, located across Gulshan area and divided by a lake, has over 150 acres of land which is the largest in slum in Dhaka city. The slum sitting on some prime real estate belongs to Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) has avoided several eviction attempts by authorities over the years. In 1999, two legal aid organisations – Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) – jointly filed a writ petition against an eviction drive. On April 6, 2012, the ASK and BLAST filed another petition on behalf of the residents of Korail slum after the government had conducted a massive drive to evict the poor people on April 4. Following the petition, the High Court directed the ICT Division to take appropriate measures for the rehabilitation of the slum dwellers.
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