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FR Tower fire: Why the rescue operation faced interruptions

  • Published at 06:54 pm March 28th, 2019
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Mass crowds creates interruption in the rescuing operation of firefighters at the FR tower building in Dhaka’s Banani on Thursday, March 28, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

21 firefighting units of the Dhaka Fire Service and Civil Defence brought the fire under control around 4:45pm

After an unprecedented fire broke out at Banani’s FR Tower on Thursday around 12:45pm, the emergency response team struggled greatly in handling the daunting task at hand.

On receiving news, a huge swarm of counterproductive crowds gathered to witness the massive fire. 

They ignorantly blocked the roads necessary for firefighter vehicles and hospital ambulances to commute back and forth. 

Rescue workers were crippled due to the lack of space required to conduct their operation swiftly.

Netizens on social media also identified the crowds as a major problem and expressed frustrations as it greatly disrupted the firefighting operation.

On top of the water shortage, the increasing smoke emission made the firefighters’ job even more challenging.

Firefighters used four crane ladders in the process however the overwhelming smoke remained the biggest problem in getting close to the building itself.

Dhaka City CorporaMass crowds creates interruption in the rescuing operation of firefighters at   the FR tower building in Dhaka’s Banani   on Thursday, March 28, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribunetion tankers arrived at the scene to provide sufficient water supply vital to the operation.

Fire Service official Mostafiz said: “We currently have sufficient water supply, but the smoke is refraining us from reaching the trapped victims.

“At the same time, the eager masses gathered in front of the building are also hampering the process.” 

“However, students of private universities were seen working to douse the flames and assisting in the rescue process.” 

Students and self-directed volunteers; members of Fire Service and law enforcement failed in effectively dispersing the crowd.  

Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam arrived to oversee rescue operations around 5pm.

The mayor said: “I request you all to move away from the area.  Your presence hampers the rescue efforts. If you want to help then please move from here and that is the help you can do.”

The firefighters engaged in operation further said: “The nearby buildings have been evacuated for safety. We saw a rise in smoke emission around 3pm and we are in a continuous effort to douse the fire as soon as possible. 

“The fire was seen spreading to a nearby building around 3:30pm. As time passed by the chances of fire spreading was also rising.”

The fire broke out at FR Tower around 12:52pm on Thursday. Twenty-one firefighting units of the Dhaka Fire Service and Civil Defence brought the fire under control around 4:45pm.

Many people took shelter on the roof of the building, many others were rescued, while many more are yet to be rescued.

Meanwhile, family members and relatives of those who are trapped are getting concerned for the safety of their loved ones.