Bashundhara mall fire still not contained

No casualty has been reported yet

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A blaze has broken out at Bashundhara City shopping mall in Dhaka’s Panthapath area.

Duty officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence Headquarters Ataur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune that the fire erupted on level 6 of the shopping centre around 11:23am on Sunday.

A total of 29 firefighting units are working to douse the flames.

The in-charge of Basundhara city, TIM Latiful Hossain said probably it would not be possible to reopen the market before Wednesday. They would consult the authorities on this matter.

He said there was no negligence on their part in bringing the fire under control. However, seven to eight shops in the C-block on level-6 have been completely damaged among nearly 100 shops that have been affected by the fire, he added.

The president of the shop owners association of the mall, MA Hannan Azad, urged shop owners not to worry as they would sit with the authorities about the compensation.

He said the fire service did everything to douse the fire as soon as possible.

Major Shakil Newaz, director (operations) of fire service, said the fire was largely under control. Their operation to douse the fire was underway.

The cause of the fire could not be confirmed yet.

 

Fire Service and Civil Defence Director General Ali Ahmed Khan told the Dhaka Tribune that two more units joined the fire service team.

Meanwhile, fire fighters have rescued some 15-20 people who were trapped on level 6, he added.

He also said that several more people were on the rooftop of the building and firemen were trying to rescue them.

Fire Service and Civil Defence Deputy Director Mizanur Rahman said: “We rescued a total of 19 people from two rooftop around 4:14pm. They had taken shelter on the rooftop in panic.”

Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Annisul Huq is now on the spot and monitoring the situation.

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Annisul said: “According to fire service sources, there was no casualty report till now.”

“If fire service needs, we can arrange helicopter to rescue the people who are now stranded on the rooftop.”

Moreover, if necessary, engineering team of DNCC is ready to help the firemen, he added.

Witnesses said smoke is still seen coming out of the level 6 of the shopping complex and it has engulfed the surrounding areas.

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The fire is yet to be doused, said Jasim Uddin, head of Bashundhara City marketing department. Some 11 people were rescued from the rooftop of the building and there is no people trapped in the rooftop, he said.

Fire service sources said a total of 19 people including three women were rescued from the shopping mall.

While visiting the spot, Additional Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Sheikh Maruf Hasan said: “We have not got any report of casualties so far but a lot of people are stuck on the terrace. Police have been asked to see that the work of the firefighters are not disrupted due to the crowd.”

Din Mohammad, owner of mobile shop Phone Land, said: “The fire originated from a shoe shop in Block C of the sixth floor around 11:30am. We thought it would be brought under control but later the fire rangers of Banshundhara City made an announcement and asked us to evacuate the mall.

General Manager of Banshundhara City (HR and Admin) Major (rtd) Mostafa Rahen Emam told the Dhaka Tribune: “The fire originated from a shoe and leather shop on level sixth. Our fire fighters brought the blaze under control soon after the fire broke out but there is a lot of smoke due to the presence of leather in the shop from where the fire originated.”

He said there are 1800 shops in the mall.

On March 13, 2009, at least seven people were killed and 20 others injured in the raging blaze that broke out at the capital’s Bashundhara City complex.