Friday, May 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

How many more lives?

We need accountability and for owners of these structures to actually care when lives are lost to fires

Update : 03 Mar 2024, 06:02 PM

The tragedy in Bailey Road in Dhaka, claiming nearly 50 lives with more people in critical conditions as of writing this, is just the latest reminder of the urgent need for strict fire safety regulations.

But it is not the only reminder this nation needs.

Fire safety regulations have been a crying need across buildings in Bangladesh and not just factories, which more commonly go up in flames. If this latest tragedy, arguably the biggest one the nation has had in some time, does not bring about sweeping changes, then it is safe to say that nothing will, and the citizens will be doomed to exist in a nation where numerous structures they walk into could be their deathbed.

However, beyond the call for fire safety to be given the seriousness it has always warranted in order to literally save lives, it is the blatant disregard displayed by the owners of these establishments that will, unfortunately, continue to claim lives until this grotesque culture is genuinely addressed.

It is truly appalling to learn that the owners of the building had ignored three prior fire safety notices, demonstrating a callous disregard for the lives and safety of their tenants and visitors. In addition, this seven storey-structure had only one staircase and, horrifyingly, had scattered gas cylinders along the staircases of the building. This not only exacerbated the fire but is the reason for more lives lost, of those trying to escape but failing to do so.

All of the facts point to one glaring issue: We need accountability and for owners of these structures to actually care when lives are lost to fires. These owners need to be brought to book, regardless of their stature in society.

Bangladesh has become synonymous with impunity, and it costs Bangladeshi lives with alarming frequency. How many more lives need to be lost before we take it seriously?
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