South Asia

Fire in Bangladesh building kills 45, injures dozens

A devastating fire swept through a six-story building in Bangladesh, containing restaurants where numerous families were dining, resulted in at least 45 fatalities and dozens of injuries, according to the health minister on Friday.

Fire officials suspect that the blaze, which erupted in a biryani restaurant in the capital on Thursday, may have been caused by a gas leak or a malfunctioning stove. It took firefighters, mobilizing 13 units, over two hours to bring the fire under control.

The health minister, Samanta Lal Sen, reported that hospitals are currently treating 22 individuals for burn injuries, all of whom are in critical condition. Sen’s comments came after visiting the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed her deep shock and sorrow over the tragic event and has directed officials to ensure the injured receive prompt medical attention.

Mohammad Altaf, a survivor, shared his harrowing experience, detailing how he escaped the fire that claimed the lives of two of his colleagues. “I went to the kitchen, broke a window, and jumped to save myself,” Altaf said, mourning the loss of a cashier and a server who initially helped people evacuate but were later found dead.

Firefighters, employing cranes, managed to rescue several individuals from the burning building. Efforts to clear the debris and extinguish any lingering flames continued, as stated by fire officials.

Early Friday, distraught relatives arrived at the hospital to claim the bodies of the deceased, with many seen grieving outside the emergency department.

Medical professionals noted that the majority of the fatalities were due to suffocation, while some victims died attempting to escape by jumping from the building, which also housed clothing and mobile phone shops.

Brigadier General Main Uddin, a senior fire service official, indicated that the fire might have originated from a gas leak or a stove mishap.