Banani Fire Kills 19

Hakkatha Desk: At least 19 people were killed and around 100 others injured as a deadly fire tore through 22-storey FR Tower in the capital’s Banani area yesterday.

The death toll may rise, fear officials.

The blaze was doused around 7:00pm after a six-hour hectic effort.

Firefighters were yet to know the cause of the fire that erupted on the 6th floor. It spread quickly to other floors of the building that houses a food court and dozens of offices.

The fire incident took place barely a month after at least 70 people were killed in a fire in Old Dhaka’s Chawkbazar area.

While others are rescued by firefighters — all amid the flames, fumes and sprinkle of water sprayed from helicopters (bellow) overhead yesterday. Photo: Rashed Shumon and Amran Hossain

The fire broke out around 12:50pm, trapping several hundred people inside the building. Many of them screamed for help, waving hands and cloths on different floors as hundreds of onlookers crowded Kemal Ataturk Avenue.

Scores were spotted on ledges of the building, desperately trying to climb down. A few others grabbed ropes lowered by rescue helicopters which pulled them out of the blaze. Crowds below cheered and applauded every time someone was rescued.

One of The Daily Star correspondents saw at least six people fall to their death while trying to escape the blaze.

The helicopters sprayed water on the building while firefighters used ladders to climb up different floors. They smashed windows to create escape routes and rescued people in groups.

More than four hours after the blaze, people were still seen trapped on the 13th and 14th floors, waving for help amid clouds of black smoke.

A total of 22 firefighting units, backed by the army, the navy and the air force personnel, struggled to bring the blaze under control. The operation was constantly monitored by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The fire was brought under control around 4:45pm and doused at 7:00pm, said Rasel Shikder, a duty officer at the headquarters of the Fire Service and Civil Defence.

According to data provided by Fire Service and Civil Defence’s media centre at 8:30pm, 19 people, including a Sri Lankan national, were killed and 70 others suffered injuries.

Nirosh Vignarajah, a Sri Lankan national, who died in Banani fire yesterday.

Six of the deceased were identified as Rumki Akhter, 30, Masudur Rahman, 32, Nirosh Vignarajah, 30, Abdullah Al Faroque, 32, Mamun, 32, and Monir 50, hospital authorities said.

Nirosh, a Sri Lankan national, reportedly fell to his death while trying to escape the braze. He was declared dead after he was brought to Kurmitola General Hospital, said Brig Gen Quazi Rashid-Un-Nabi, director of the hospital.

Of those rescued from the building, seven were admitted to Kurmitola General Hospital, 10 to the United Hospital and three at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). The rest were released after primary treatment. (from Daily Star)