Three rice mills and 15 wholesale rice shops were burnt to ashes in a devastating fire at Chaktai area in Chittagong on Sunday.
According to fire service officials, Chaktai market, one of the largest wholesale rice markets in the country, caught fire around 3:30am.
On information, 12 Fire Service vehicles rushed to the spot and brought it under control at 11am.
The officials, however, could not identify what caused it.
Deputy Assistant Director of Chittagong’s Fire Service and Civil Defence Jashim Uddin told the Dhaka Tribune that they had already formed a three-member committee to ascertain the cause of the fire.
The traders of the wholesale market alleged that the flames had engulfed the whole market and damaged valuables due to the firefighters’ delayed actions.
When asked why it took such a long time to bring it under control, Jashim Uddin said: “The electric cables were functional when the accident took place. The situation could have worsened further had we sprayed water on the electric cables.”
“Later, we severed the power connections and brought the situation under control.”
The extent of damage due to the blaze has not yet been assessed.
General Secretary of Chaktai Rice Traders Association Omar Azam told the Dhaka Tribune the fire gutted three rice mills and 15 wholesale rice shops.
“Apart from the goods, the cash money left at the businesses was also gutted in the fire,” he said.
“The fire has caused a loss of around Tk6-8 crore,” the business association leader added.