The devastating fire has gutted around 200 shanties of the slum
Nine people, including four members of a family, have died and several others injured in a devastating fire at a slum in Chittagong’s Chaktai area.
According to Fire Service and Civil Defence officials, around 200 shanties of the Bhera Market slum were gutted in the fire that started around 3:30am on Sunday — when the slum dwellers were sleeping.
A total of 11 vehicles from four fire stations tamed the fire around 8am, after five hours of frantic effort.
The origin of the fire is yet to be known. Fire Service is investigating the incident.
Of the deceased, seven were identified as: Hasina, 35, Ayesha, 37, Sohagi, 19, Rahima, 60; and Rahima’s children Babu, 8, Nazma, 16, and Nargis, 18.
Chittagong Fire Service’s Deputy Assistant Director Jasim Uddin told the Dhaka Tribune that nine charred bodies were recovered from the debris later in the morning.
The Chittagong district administration said it has formed a four-member probe committee, headed by an additional district magistrate.
The administration also distributed Tk20,000 each to the victim families for funeral purposes of the deceased.
When asked how the fire started, Fire Service’s Deputy Assistant Director Purna Chandra Mutsuddi later told the Dhaka Tribune that they could not comment on the matter as they were still investigating.
“However, this was a densely populated area. The fire could have originated from an electric short-circuit, exposed wires, mosquito coil or even a cooking stove. We will be able to determine the real source of fire after the probe,” he added.
Later in the day, Chittagong City Corporation Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin visited the gutted slum at Chaktai and talked to the affected families.
Nasir assured the slum dwellers affected by the fire of rehabilitating them.
Deputy Minister for Water Resources Enamul Haque Shamim and Awami League's Deputy Publicity Secretary Aminul Islam also accompanied the mayor at the time.