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For all those who perished

  • Published at 11:59 pm February 21st, 2019
Photo: SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN
Photo: SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

This fire should serve as a shocking reminder of the importance of proper fire safety practices

We deeply mourn the many lives lost in the devastating fire that spread through several multi-storied buildings in Chawkbazar in Old Dhaka on Wednesday night. 

More than 70 people have been killed in the fire as of writing this editorial, and more bodies could very well emerge later. 

This tragedy struck when a gas cylinder of a CNG-driven pick-up truck exploded in front of a grocery store, resulting in a fire that spread quickly as a result of the various chemical warehouses located in the area. 

The loss of any innocent life is a tragedy, and for so many lives to meet such a cruel fate is nothing short of a blight on the nation’s conscience. 

This fire should serve as a shocking reminder -- to citizens and authorities alike -- of the importance of proper fire safety practices. Negligence in this regard can have catastrophic consequences, as we are witnessing right now, and we must work together to ensure that such a tragedy is never allowed to take place again. 

Unfortunately, fires such as these have become an all too common sight, especially in the cramped streets of Old Dhaka, with four devastating fire incidents in 2010 alone. 

The worst of this was the Nimtoli tragedy in June 2010, which took the lives of 123 people -- this should have been enough for authorities to have taken steps to ensure the safety of such areas which have remained vulnerable to such accidents for the longest time.  

Nonetheless, we are pleased to see that the government has followed the PM’s directives and taken the initiative to provide financial support to the families of the victims, and we hope that, moving forward, steps are taken to remove these chemical warehouses to safer locations. 

It is only through learning from this tragedy that we can, in any way or form, honour the lives of those we lost.