DHAKA – Police in Bangladesh said on Sunday they have arrested two owners of a commercial complex in capital Dhaka that was razed by fire this week, causing over two dozen deaths.
Mashiur Rahman, chief of Dhaka’s detective branch of police, told EFE that Tasvir Ul Islam was arrested about 10:45 pm on Saturday night while SMHI Faruque was held around 1:30 am on at Bashundhara area of the city.
They are the two owners of the 22-storied building in Dhaka’s upscale Banani area that caught fire on Thursday with several people trapped inside the complex.
“The building had (an) engineering fault and contained some illegal parts. It also lacked fire safety measures. The accused were charged with negligence and indifference which caused so many deaths,” he said.
Mashiur said police were looking for the building’s developer, who has been named as the third accused.
The death toll in the fire rose to 26 after a man succumbed to his injury in a military hospital on Saturday, said Gulshan Ara, a duty officer of Banani police station.
The fire broke out around 12:50 pm on Thursday in one of the lower floors of the building, located in a commercial area of the city, an incident which also left 73 people, including three firefighters, injured.
After the fire broke out, many people were trapped inside as the building’s emergency exit had no fire escape door, an expert said after visiting the site in the aftermath of the incident.
Bangladeshi authorities on Friday vowed to take tough action against building safety violations. A minister went on to say that the deaths in the incident were “murder.”
Such fires are not uncommon in Bangladesh owing to a lack of safety regulations and ill-maintained buildings.
At least 1,970 people were killed in 89,923 incidents of fires across Bangladesh between 2004 and 2018, according to the Bangladesh Fire Service.
As recently as on Feb. 20, a massive fire broke out in the old town of Dhaka, destroying almost seven buildings, and leaving at least 70 dead and 55 injured.
The country recorded at least three major fire incidents in 2019, including a slum fire in southern Chittagong district in February that killed nine people.