• Sunday, June 23, 2024

BANGLADESH

Fire engulfs Dhaka clothes market

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

On Tuesday (04), hundreds of firefighters in Bangladesh engaged in a fierce battle against an inferno that swept through a well-known clothing market in the capital city of Dhaka, causing black smoke to blanket the oldest neighbourhoods of the city.

Although no fatalities have been reported yet, fire officials and shop owners informed reporters that the famous Bongo Bazar and three nearby markets had been extensively damaged in the early morning blaze.

As the day progressed, tensions mounted, and a group of shop owners threw rocks at the firefighters, expressing their displeasure with the amount of time it was taking to contain the fire.

Around 450 officers were deployed to stop looting and maintain order, according to police spokesman Faruq Ahmed.

After battling for more than six hours, 600 firefighters from across the city managed to bring the blaze under control, said fire services chief Main Uddin.

High winds and a lack of water, along with an enthusiastic crowd, made firefighting difficult, he added.

According to Uddin, the Bongo Bazar market, made of mainly timber and tin, was deemed a fire hazard in 2019 and had been warned repeatedly since.

Police inspector Bacchu Mia confirmed that at least 11 people, including five firefighters, were injured in the fire, but none were critical.

The market complex contained thousands of clothing shops and was in a busy area of Dhaka, which also houses the country’s top university and national police headquarters.

Popular cut-price clothing market Bongo Bazar, built in the 1980s and home to thousands of shops, was destroyed, leaving shop owners destitute ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid.

The market is known for selling clothes produced in Dhaka’s garment factories that did not meet export standards for Western brands.

Frequent incidents of building fires and explosions caused by leaking gas cylinders, faulty air conditioners, and poor electrical wiring are common in Bangladesh.

In a recent incident, at least 23 people were killed in an explosion at a central Dhaka market, which was later attributed to a faulty gas line.

Additionally, a fire and explosions at a container depot in the port city of Chittagong last year claimed over 50 lives.

(With inputs from AFP)

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