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Dhaka Tribune

‘The charred bodies are our only hope’

No way to identify deceased without DNA profiling, say rescue officials

Update : 10 Jul 2021, 05:48 PM

Seventeen-year-old Md Nasim was the youngest of three brothers. 

Despite financial hardships, he used to dream big. He was determined to continue his studies to bring about a change of fortune, not only for himself but also for his whole family.

However, Nasim has been missing since Thursday’s massive fire that gutted a food processing factory in Rupganj, Narayanganj. 

The first-year college student used to provide private tuition to children to bear educational expenses. He, like many others, lost his work due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

In an effort to continue his studies and pay for his college fees, Nasim started working at the factory in March this year.

He was paid a mere Tk5,000/month as salary. 

The massive factory fire – which took firefighters 29 hours to bring under control – ended the lives of over 50 people, most aged below 18.

Md Nasim | Collected 

Also Read - Narayanganj factory fire brought under control

Nasim’s family members fear that he, along with his dreams and ambitions for a better life, was burned to ashes in the fire.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Nasim’s elder brother Ismail said: “Our father died long ago. Education is a luxury for us, as we can’t even make ends meet properly. 

“Despite all the struggles, I never stopped him [Nasim] from continuing his studies. However, I was unable to support him financially.”

Ismail said his brother needed money to pay for his exam fees and therefore worked at the Sajeeb Group factory. 

“He even deposited the amount required to his college a few days ago. But where did my brother go? 

“Who will sit for the exam now? Is he alive? Will we get his dead body?” a devastated Ismail added.

Terming the incident as a “planned murder,” Ismail claimed that this is not the first time that the factory caught on fire. 

The workers had previously protested over the issue but the factory owners did not take any action, Ismail said.

It was 11pm on Friday and Ismail was still searching for his brother at the morgue of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH)

"Now the charred bodies are our only hope,” he cried out loud.

‘Please save me. I don’t want to die’

“Please save me. Our factory is on fire. I don't want to die, I can’t get out,” were the last words of Firoza Begum to her family members before being reported missing in the factory fire incident.

Her sister-in-law Minowara said: “Firoza called my brother around 5pm on Thursday and told him to save her. 

Minowara, quoting Firoza’s last phone call, said that the factory gates were kept shut during the fire.

Also Read - Child workers still missing in disastrous Narayanganj factory fire

Firoza’s 15-year-old daughter Sumaiya was begging everyone to search for her mother.

Firoza Begum | Collected "My mother used to tell me that the factory used to regularly catch on fire. She told me that she would resign after Eid."

News of rescue officials identifying her mother’s dead body on Friday afternoon devastated her.  She has not spoken a single word since.

‘Charred bones scattered on factory floor’

Rescue workers and firefighters were at a loss for words while describing the harrowing scenes inside the factory. 

“We have recovered many burnt bodies from different places, but not like the ones we have seen here,” said Md Mahbub Hossain, a firefighter stationed at Araihazar Fire Service and Civil Defence.

He said that the charred bones of corpses were scattered all across the floor. “We saw piles of bodies in some places.”

Photo shows CID’s crime scene unit is collecting DNA samples as there’s no way to identify deceased without DNA profiling on Saturday, July 10, 2021 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune“The heads of many of the deceased had separated from their charred bodies. They looked like balls on the floor.”

Another fireman, Sharif, said he had never seen such badly burned bodies in his entire life. 

“There is no way to identify the bodies without DNA profiling.”

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