DHAKA – At least 19 people were killed and 73 others were injured in a fire that razed a 22-storey building in the Bangladeshi capital city Dhaka on Thursday, officials said.
The blaze was under control and search and rescue operations were underway, amid fears the death toll could still increase.
On duty Fire Service officer, Mahfuz Riben, confirmed to EFE that 19 people had died, and that three of the injured were fire department officials.
Manzur Morshed, a survivor, said they were fears that many people were trapped inside the building, after the fire broke out at 12:50 pm in a commercial area of the city.
“I was in a bathroom on the 17th floor when I got the news of fire, which probably started on the seventh floor. We all rushed to the top floor and jumped off to the next building, which was close by,” he said.
“But many people were trapped inside as the building housed dozens of offices. I am not sure how many could get out,” said Morshed, who works in Amara Networks Limited, an internet service provider.
Sazzadur Rahman, an official at the United Hospital, said three people were brought to the hospital already dead, along with 20 others who were injured.
He added that the three victims had died after falling from the building while trying to escape the blaze.
Bacchu Miah, who was in charge of Dhaka Medical College Hospital police outpost, said a Sri Lankan citizen was also rushed to the hospital injured after he fell off the building.
Such fires are not uncommon in Bangladesh due to a lack of safety regulations and poorly maintained buildings.
Hundreds of people have been killed in recent years in similarly deadly fires.
At least 70 people were killed, and dozens others were injured in a massive fire last month in Old Dhaka’s chemical hub Chawkbazar.
Dhaka has a population of over 18 million, out of which around 3.5 million live in slums.
It is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, according to World Bank data.