The Fire Service says 19 bodies were recovered from inside the building
A total of 25 deaths have been confirmed in a deadly fire that broke out at a building in Dhaka's Banani area.
A Fire Service media briefing booth set up outside the scene of fire said around 11pm Thursday night that 19 bodies had been recovered from inside the burned building. Two other dead bodies were at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, one at Kurmitola General, and three at United Hospital.
The fire broke out at FR Tower around 12:52pm on Thursday, according to Fire Service spokesperson Ataur Rahman.
The Fire Service Duty Officer Mizanur Rahman claimed the fire was brought under control at around 4:45pm.
A fire service official, on condition of anonymity, said around hundreds of people have been rescued from the building till the filing of this report.
"We have 21 firefighting units of the Dhaka Fire Service and Civil Defence working to douse the fire," Fire Service Central Control Room Duty officer Rasel told the Dhaka Tribune.
A 35-year-old man, identified as Abdullah Al Faruk, an MBA student at Dhaka University, was declared dead after he was rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). Three others, Rezaul Ahmed, Abu Hossain, and Shabbir Ali Mridha were also admitted to the burn unit at DMCH, who are currently undergoing treatment.
A Sri Lankan citizen identified as Niras Chandra, was declared dead at Kurmitola General Hospital. Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Cantonment police station Kazi Shahan Haque confirmed the matter saying the victim fell off the building while trying to escape the fire.
Parvez Sazzad, 47, was reported dead at a Banani clinic.
Maksudur, Munir and Mamun were declared dead on arrival by doctors at United Hospital. Senior Executive Sazzadur Rahman Shuvo of the hospital confirmed the matter.
A woman identified as Amina Yeasmin died of her injuries at Apollo Hospital.
13 more bodies were brought out from the building around 6:30pm after the fire was put out.
However, Fire Service Deputy Director Dilip Kumar Ghosh said 19 people were confirmed dead and 70 were injured.
He also said the efforts fo the 300 firefighters deployed helped confine the fire to just four floors of the building.
He lamented that several people had panicked and leapt from the building, which led to the increased casualties.
The deputy director also noted that the building had narrow staircases, and lacked firefighting capacity.
It is also of note that the building reportedly caught fire over a decade ago in 2008.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Enamur Rahman lamented that the fire happened too soon after the Chawkbazar fire.
He said an 8-member probe committee comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, the fire service, Dhaka deputy commissioner's office, Dhaka North City Corporation, police, Buet, and led by a senior secretary from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief has been tasked to look into the fire.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Navy Officer Siraj said: "Three units of Bangladesh Navy are lending assistance."
Present at the scene, the authorities concerned confirmed that the Air Force, Bangladesh Navy, police and the Fire Service Department are working together to rescue the people inside.
The Fire Service has also announced a five-member probe committee to look into the fire.
A number of eyewitnesses claimed that fire service personnel arrived late at the scene, causing the fire to grow out of control.
Firefighters suspect the the fire could have originated from the seventh floor and later spread to the other floors
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atikul Islam arrived to oversee rescue operations around 5pm. Around 5:15pm, Dhaka-12 MP Akbar Hossain Pathan Farooque also arrived.
There have been reports that several people have been critically injured after jumping from the building. Victims were immediately taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. A television channel live report showed at least one person falling while trying to climb down the building.
Responding to a query, Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) Engineer Md Imran Hossain, Said: “The electrical supply line on top of the building has been disconnected to avoid a further deterioration of the ongoing situation.”
Eyewitnesses told the Dhaka Tribune that the fire service brought around five vehicles to the scene of the fire, but they did not immediately use all the resources available to them to bring the situation under control.
Responding to a query, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director Abdullah Ibn Zaid said: “Three Bangladesh Air Force Helicopters are aiding the search and rescue operations, along with teams from the Bangladesh Army and Navy.”