Dhaka – At least 19 people have been killed and dozens others injured after a fire broke out at a multi-storied commercial building in Dhaka’s Banani area on Thursday, officials said.
Firefighters and the members of the armed forces doused the flame, which originated at the ninth floor of the 19-storied Faruk Rupayan tower, in more than six hours of frantic efforts.
The rescuers retrieved 13 charred bodies from the scene after they began a search operation in the evening as the flame was put down. Six others died in hospitals as the rescuers sent more than 70 people to be treated for injuries.
The FR tower near Banani Bazar, housed many private offices that included banks, insurance companies, travel agency, was frequented by many people during the weekdays.
A Sri Lanka national was among those killed. He was identified as Niras Chandra. He is believed to have jumped from the building to escape the fire and died afterwards.
Rasel Sikder, an on-duty officer at Fire Service and Civil Defence, said the death toll may rise further as the search operation has begun.
Those who trapped inside tried to get down using the staircase, but failed as thick cloud of smoke filled the area soon after the fire broke out. Firefighters used hydraulic lifts and army used helicopters to rescue the trapped ones.
They were able to reach as many as 100 people while others escape on their own. Five army helicopters were used in the rescue and fire extinguishing.
Thousands of onlookers gathered on the way to capture the fire scene on their mobile phone hampering the rescue operation.
Firefighters say that three of building floors were damaged. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained. But the government ordered an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.
At least 70 people were killed and 55 others injured after a fire broke out in a densely populated residential area at Chawk Bazar in old town of Dhaka in February.