DNCC market authorities ignored the recommendations made by Dhaka Fire Service after a previous fire broke out at the market in 2017
A Fire Service official said DNCC market authorities failed to take into account, recommendations made by the Fire Service after the 2017 market fire.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Maj AKM Shakil Nawaz, director (Operation and Maintenance) of Fire Service, said: “We had earlier informed the market authorities to take measures for ensuring fire safety, after finding the complex risky. However, the market authorities filed a writ against us.”
“A five-member probe committee has been formed over the fire incident at the DNCC market,” added Maj Shakil.
The fire broke out this time in the early hours of Saturday, gutting 291 shops in the blaze before 20 firefighting units managed to douse the fire by 9:30am.
Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister, Tajul Islam, admitted the authorities neglected to implement fire safety measures at the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) market, following the 2017 fire.
He was speaking to reporters after inspecting the scene of the fire at the market.
“Necessary fire safety measures were not present at the temporary shed area of the market, which was built after the 2017 fire. The authorities concerned have shown negligence in this regard,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam, who was also present at the scene, said: "On multiple occasions in the past, the city corporation asked traders and shopkeepers to implement proper fire suppression system, but they did not cooperate due to complexities in their shop ownership and leases.
“Under the circumstances, we could not do much to prevent the fire. We need time to resolve the ownership and lease related issues of shops located in this market. This issue is our top priority.”
The mayor continued: "Shopkeepers need to be aware that this market is too congested and lacks open spaces. We will need around two weeks to rehabilitate people who suffered losses in the fire. They will be compensated under existing government laws."
The mayor added that legal action will be taken against those who violated the law and regulations.
No fire suppression system
“When this market caught fire on January 3, 2017, there was no fire suppression system installed, and history repeated itself because the market still does not have a system,” said the mayor.
“We wanted to build a permanent DNCC market on this spot, but legal complications delayed the process. We will make a serious effort to resolve the legal issues and build a permanent DNCC market, which would feature a modern fire suppression system and other amenities.”
He said further: “The city corporation will launch an inspection to ensure that all markets, shops, and shopping centres have fire suppression systems installed.
“We will take legal action against shop owners and their associations if evidence of negligence is found in this matter.”