At least 67 people were killed in a fire that broke out in a building used as a chemical warehouse in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka late on Wednesday, the Dhaka Tribune reported on Thursday. Fire Service officials had initially said that 70 people were killed in the blaze but Inspector General of Police Javed Patwary revised the toll.
As many as 56 people were treated at Dhaka Medical College Hospital for injuries, of which nine remain admitted to the facility. Six people were treated at Mitford Hospital, and two of them have been admitted.
The fire broke out around 10.40 pm [10.10 pm Indian local time] on Wednesday at the warehouse on the ground floor of the five-storey building. Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defence, Ali Ahmed, said the flames rapidly spread through three other buildings nearby, including a community centre.
Fire Service Deputy Director Dilip Kumar Ghosh said the fire was completely doused around 3 am on Thursday, according to Dhaka Tribune.
Ahmed told AFP that the toll may increase as search is still under way. Ahmed said the fire at Chawkbazar in the old part of Dhaka may have originated from a gas cylinder before quickly spreading through the building. He said the fire spread to adjoining buildings that were also used as chemical warehouses.
Ahmed said there was a traffic jam in the area when the fire broke out. “It spread so quickly that people could not escape,” he said. Buildings in old Dhaka stand inches apart and have narrow streets with heavy traffic movement.
Deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ibrahim Khan said at least two cars and 10 cycle rickshaws were destroyed in the fire. “The victims included passersby, some people who were eating food at a restaurants and some members of a bridal party,” he said.
As many as 67 bodies have been taken to the morgue, Chawkbazar police station officer Muradul Islam said. Of these, 58 are of men, five women and four children. Only 19 of the victims have been identified so far, he added.