Officials believe that the fire on a Dhaka building left many trapped because emergency exits were locked at the time. The fire, which happened on Thursday, left at least 25 people dead and many others injured.
Authorities still don’t know the cause of the fire but the government has ordered an investigation into the incident. The locked emergency exits may have been just one of the problems during the fire. Shajahan Shikdar, a member of the Dhaka fire department, told the BBC that there was a shortage of fire equipment inside the building.
The fire started at around 12:50 local time and quickly spread across the building. Several people were trapped in the building and many were believed to have no way out since they were above the fire.
Reports say that six of the victims lost their lives when they jumped from the building. The fire department member told the BBC that the fire safety system in the building was not satisfactory. He explained that there was only a narrow iron staircase available as a fire exit but it was found locked in different floors of the building.
The fire was controlled nearly four hours after it began. News agencies reported that the navy and air force helped in the operation, dropping water with military helicopters. Pictures after the incident show the middle of the building and its glass windows completely destroyed by the fire.
Mostaq Ahmed, a member of the Dhaka Police, told local media earlier today that 25 victims had been recovered and identified. He added that fire department officials were still inspecting the tower.
The death toll was initially announced as 19 but it was raised earlier today to 25. The second death toll was announced by the police department. 70 others are said to be in hospitals, with one in critical condition.
It is the second deadly fire in the city in the last two months. On February 20, a fire left 80 people dead and 50 others injured. The fire began with an accident between a van and a private car. Reports say the private car’s gas cylinder exploded with the fire spreading to nearby buildings in minutes. The fire reached some buildings that were storing chemicals.
The fire was controlled hours later but it left many dead since the area was full of people at the time. Reports say that one of the alleys heavily affected was packed with people who were attending a wedding ceremony.