Fire kills 11 at Dhaka slum

Ref: A devastating fire on Sunday raced through a slum on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, leaving at least 11 people dead.

Fire Service Department’s Control Room Official Ataur Rahman told bdnews24.com that the fire broke out at 3:00 am at Bou Bazar slum at Hazaribagh.

Some 500 shanties were destroyed in the massive fire and the fire fighters took four hours to douse the flame, he said.

Rahman said the fire fighters recovered 11 bodies including of six women from the rubble. Initial reports say at least three children aged 4-13 were among the victims.
The reason of the fire is being investigated, he added.

Ramna Police Deputy Commissioner Nurul Alam said the victims were from a two-storey building surrounded by makeshift shanties. The bodies of eight victims were recovered from a bathroom on the first floor of that building, he said.
The victims got trapped inside the building as the fire began when the slum dwellers were asleep. Suffocation or burning caused their deaths, Alam said.

Five of the victims have been identified: Helena Begum, 45, her daughter ‘Aklima’, 9, her grandson ‘Sakib’, 4, and Sokhina Begum, 65, her granddaughter ‘Mayna’, 13.

Helena’s husband Kazi Akram Hossain, a hotel employee, said he was out at night. He returned in the morning and got the news that his wife, daughter and granddaughter were dead. He later identified the bodies at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Helena’s elder daughter Shahinoor Begum, who lives with her family at a slum nearby, said they noticed the fire after they heard screams from outside at dead of night. They attempted in futile to rescue her kin.

Father of Mayna said he divorced with his wife some years ago and lived separately. Mayna lived with her grandmother in the slum.

Local residents suspected the fire originated from a rickshaw garage right in front of the slum. But fire official Rahman said they needed a detailed investigation to determine the reason.

Owner of the garage Shahjahan Mia said the fire gutted 150 rickshaws and six auto-rickshaws in his garage.

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