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Features


Dhaka fire claimed 78 lives: Official sources

Dhaka fire claimed 78 lives: Official sources

Dhaka, Feb 21 (UNI) A fast-moving fire swept through a historic district of Bangladesh's capital killing at least 78 people, official sources informed.

The blaze broke out at night in a residential building that had flammable material stored on the ground floor.

Members of a bridal party are thought to be among the victims. It is not yet clear what started the fire.

The centuries-old Chawkbazar district has narrow streets and buildings very close to each other, BBC reported.

Large building fires are relatively common in densely populated Bangladesh, owing to lax safety regulations and poor conditions. Hundreds of people have been killed in recent years.

On Sunday, a fire in a slum in the coastal city of Chittagong killed at least nine people.

The fire broke out in a mixed-use building at 2340 (local time) on Wednesday, when many residents were sleeping.

It started at a chemical warehouse on the ground floor and then raced through three other buildings, officials say. Many people were trapped, unable to escape the flames.

Witnesses and police said gas explosions helped fuel the blaze.

The death toll stood at 78, Dr Sohail Mahmoud, head of the department of forensic medicine at Dhaka Medical College, told reporters.

"Up to now, we have 67 bodies in our mortuary and the hospital morgue has 11 dead bodies," he said.

Victims included people outside the buildings, some guests at a restaurant and members of a bridal party, AFP reports. Most of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.

Some of the injured were in critical condition. The number of victims is expected to rise as the search continues through the damaged buildings.

UNI XC-RHK 1755

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