Many buildings have faulty electrical wiring or illegal gas connections that are accidents waiting to happen
It seems that we never learn our lesson. In Bangladesh, fire after fire has wreaked havoc, causing untold misery, and colossal damage to property. And yet, we fail to upgrade our fire safety standards -- safety always comes last for us. This is true even when clear warning signs are present in advance.
The fire at the Jamal Market Station Road area of Rangpur is just the latest addition to a long series of fires. This fire, which seems to have originated from an electrical short circuit, will cause a loss amounting to crores. While a couple of individuals have had to be taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation, it is a small measure of consolation that no one perished.
Other fire incidents that we have witnessed recently were not so kind. People of Old Dhaka will never forget the devastation caused at Chawkbazar in 2019, where a fire left 70 people dead, and many others injured with severe burns. Worse still was the fire at Nimtoli back in 2010, which killed 124 people.
The authorities should have looked into these fires and enacted comprehensive fire safety protocols. Sadly, other than some perfunctory changes for show, nothing was done, and the fire safety scenario remains as alarming as ever. Most buildings in Dhaka, for example, still do not have fire escapes. Our road and building construction projects are poorly planned, and firefighters cannot quickly and easily access the places that need help. Many buildings have faulty electrical wiring or illegal gas connections that are accidents waiting to happen.
At the end of the day, no matter how much money we pour into our infrastructure, we will not be seen as developed if we fail to value human life, and we fail to prioritize on fire safety.