Dozens killed by fire in Bangladesh capital Dhaka


The officials earlier said 37 fire fighting units were moved to the scene but narrow lanes made it hard for fire engines to reach the spot forcing the fire fighters to use long hose pipes to set off the blaze.

The death toll now sits at 70 but fire officials expect it to rise as the fire tore through the building and leapt to four others, some of which also stored chemicals, at the tight intersection. One of the buildings was a warehouse for a perfume company, and the plastics and chemicals stored there quickly ignited.

Bangladesh's fire service chief Ali Ahmed said the blaze may have started with a gas cylinder before spreading through the building where chemicals were stored.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire at the building in the centuries-old Chawkbazar area of Dhaka.

"There was a traffic jam when the fire broke out".

An unidentified Bangladeshi man cries by the site of a fire that broke out late Wednesday in closely set buildings in the capital.

Another fire official told reporters the blaze, which began around 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday, has been "confined" but not yet extinguished despite the efforts of more than 200 firefighters.

"It spread so quickly that people could not escape".

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A duty officer for the Dhaka fire department said authorities had earlier counted 81 dead.

Over 50 wounded people were being treated at Dhaka's two major state-run facilities - Dhaka Medical College Hospital's burn unit and Sir Salimullah Medical College.

"Our teams are working there, but numerous recovered bodies are beyond recognition", he said.

After a fire in a neighboring district at a building storing flammable chemicals killed 123 people in 2010, authorities promised to bring the buildings into compliance with zoning regulations and close warehouses.

"The victims included passers by, some people who were eating food at a restaurants and some members of the bridal party", he said.

"I saw with my own eyes that a sudden massive bang with fire and shockwaves totally destroyed the roadside wall".

Firemen said they struggled to get enough water to douse the flames and had to pump supplies from a nearby mosque.

The Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,100 workers and a fire in a garment factory in 2012 killed 112 people.