43 killed as fire breaks out at six-storey commercial building in Dhaka

At least 43 people were killed in a deadly fire that broke out at a six-storey commercial building on Baily Road in Dhaka on February 29, 2024 [Photo: X/Nahim Razzaq]

A fatal fire erupted late on Thursday night at a six-story commercial building on Baily Road in Dhaka, Bangladesh, claiming the lives of at least 43 people.

Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen disclosed that 33 victims succumbed at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, while 10 perished at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.

Additionally, over 22 severely burned people are currently in critical condition. The Green Cozy Cottage Shopping Mall, housing Kacchi Bhai biriyani shop, an Illiyeen outlet, and various other shops, saw the rescue of around 75 people, including 42 found unconscious.

Live videos shared on Facebook depicted the building engulfed in flames as onlookers and firefighters attempted to rescue trapped people. The fire, starting around 9.50 pm, was brought under control after two hours.

Mohammad Rashed, a Fire Service rescue worker, and five colleagues managed to escape through the back of the building using air jumping bags. A security guard in an adjacent building described the initial smoke, mentioning a gas cylinder burst that rapidly escalated the fire.

Numerous people sustained injuries during evacuation attempts, with 10-15 people transported to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery. Three paramilitary platoons, Bangladesh Ansar, and a specially trained Ansar Guard Battalion have been deployed for collaborative efforts with the Fire Service in the ongoing fire and rescue operations.

Santo Das, rescued around 11.40pm, speculated that the fire originated from a cylinder blast, recounting his experience from a restaurant on the third floor. Fire Service officials reported the successful rescue of at least 19 people, with nearly 12 firefighting units engaged in extinguishing the fire and conducting rescue operations.

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