A massive fire in Bangladesh that raged through a six-storey building home to restaurants where many families with children were dining has killed at least 46 people, the health minister said on Friday. At least 75 other people were injured, fire officials said.
Fire authorities said a gas leak or a stove could have caused Thursday’s blaze in the capital, which spread quickly after breaking out in a biryani restaurant, and was only brought under control following two hours of effort by 13 units of firefighters.Witnesses said the building had one staircase and elevator, with no emergency exit, making escape difficult. Some people trapped inside jumped from higher floors, they said.
Hospitals were treating 22 people with burns, health minister Samanta Lal Sen told reporters. “All 22 people … are in critical condition,” Sen said after a visit to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The fire could have originated from a gas leak or stove, said Brigadier General Main Uddin, a fire service official. “It was a dangerous building with gas cylinders on every floor, even on the stairs,” he told Reuters, adding that it had a single staircase, lacking ventilation, an emergency exit and other safety features. “The cause of the fire is being investigated,” he said. The govt has set up a five-member panel to investigate the incident.
A video showed that most of the floors had been charred by the flames. A firefighter atop a fire engine ladder could be seen trying to extinguish a small fire that was still burning near one of the upper floors. Another video showed survivors being lowered onto a ladder as a crush of emergency workers, media and onlookers waited to receive them on the street below.
Other violations by the builder were also reported. The Capital Development Authority, the official regulator, said the building was not permitted to open restaurants but it had at least eight food shops. The fire service department said the building owner was served at least three times with notice to correct the building’s fire extinguishing system.
One survivor, Mohammad Altaf, recounted his narrow escape from the blaze that killed two colleagues. “I went to the kitchen, broke a window and jumped to save myself,” he told reporters, adding that a cashier and server who urged people to leave during the first moments had died later. Firefighters used cranes to rescue people from the charred building, said fire officials.
Doctors said most of the dead were killed by suffocation with others dying as they jumped off the building. agencies

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