Bangladesh: Dozens Killed in Fire at Residential High-rise

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A massive fire has resulted in the deaths of at least 45 people, with numerous others sustaining injuries. Authorities report that the blaze occurred at a seven-story building situated in an upscale neighborhood of Dhaka.

Bangladeshi Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen reported that a minimum of 45 individuals perished as a seven-story high-rise erupted in flames on Thursday in an affluent district of the capital, Dhaka.

Sen, who previously served as the country's burn clinic coordinator before assuming the role of health minister, stated: "Currently, the death toll from the fire stands at 45." He further mentioned that approximately 40 individuals had been admitted to Dhaka's primary burn clinic, with all 22 individuals suffering from severe burns listed in critical condition.

Fire Department officials subsequently confirmed that the inferno originated on the ground floor of the structure, situated on Dhaka's renowned Bailey Road, at approximately 9:50 p.m. (1550 GMT). The fire swiftly engulfed the building, trapping occupants on its higher levels.

Fire authorities suggested that the fire might have been triggered by a gas leak or a stove. Residents recounted terrifying experiences, with some descending from their apartments using external drainpipes, while others sustained injuries while leaping to safety. Those trapped on the roof had no means of escape due to smoke-filled stairwells. Eventually, fire and emergency service personnel rescued those stranded on the rooftop.

Bangladesh's lenient fire safety regulations have gained notoriety over the years, with frequent devastating fires in factories and residential buildings. Gas cylinders, faulty air conditioners, and poor electrical wiring are often cited as causes of these fires. For instance, in July 2021, a fire engulfed a food processing plant, claiming the lives of at least 52 people, including children. Similarly, in February 2019, a blaze in a Dhaka apartment complex resulted in the deaths of 70 individuals. The country's deadliest fire occurred in 2012 when a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka was ravaged by fire, claiming the lives of at least 111 people.