Five of a Ctg family burnt to death

February 21, 2009

22 hurt in shopping mall fire in Dhaka; 25 shops gutted
Star Report
Five members of a family were burnt alive in a fire at a house in Sitakunda upazila early yesterday.
The deceased were identified as Abul Bashar, 45, son of Md Abdullah Mia, Bashar’s wife Selina Begum, 35, their three sons Shourav, 14, Sabuj, 10 and Sajib, 3.
Meanwhile, at least 20 garment workers and two firemen suffered injuries in a fire that gutted around 25 shops at a market on the Elephant Road in the capital.
Fire Service and police said the fire broke out at the tin-shed house of Bashar, a candle supplier, at Doajipara of Sitakunda upazila at around 1:20am.
Sources said the fire might have originated from an electrical short circuit and spread fast as lots of candles were stockpiled inside the house.
They were burnt alive while asleep.
Bashar’s other son Biplu, 10, is the only member of the family to survive as he stayed the night at nearby Hafizia Madrasha for study.
The family moved to Sitakunda from Musapur union at Sandwip one and a half years ago, said sources.
The fire also engulfed three other adjoining houses including one of Altaf Hossain.
On information, two fire-fighting units rushed to the spot immediately and extinguished the flame at around 2:40am.
They recovered the bodies that were buried later.
The loss in the fire was estimated at Tk 3 lakh, Fire Service sources said.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Abdur Rouf and Assistant Superintendent of Police Abdul Mamun visited the spot in the morning.
A fire broke out on the ground floor at ‘Madina Traders’, a chemical shop, at Yakub Super Market opposite the city’s Gausia Market at around 12:00 noon, said witnesses.
Traders claimed that the extent of loss was at least worth Tk 10 crore as the fire turned 15 shops into ashes while 10 other shops were damaged partially.
On information, 21 units of fire service rushed to the spot and doused the fire at about 3:00pm. Fire brigade personnel, with the help of locals, rescued around one hundred people trapped on the rooftop of the building.
A fire brigade official quoting traders told The Daily Star, workers of a chemical shop were pouring chemical into a pot under candlelight. The fire originated as the inflammable chemical came in touch with burning candle.
Witnesses said around one thousand garment workers working on the first to fifth floors got trapped inside the building as the blazing fire continued to spread with all its fury.
Garment workers had to struggle to come out of the market especially down the stairs as the billowing smoke engulfed the entire market, the local traders said.
Around 15 garment workers and some shop employees suffered injuries when the stampede broke out. Five others were also injured while jumping off the rooftop of the market, fire brigade source said.
Of the injured, 10 people were treated at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, on-duty doctors said.
Firemen Abul Khayer and Abdul Hai received injuries while dousing the fire.
Moniruzzaman, owner of the Rekha Paint of the Yakub Market told the Daily Star that the fire originated at the Madina Traders. “I heard a small bang and then saw a fireball and within three minutes, I think, it fanned out to other parts of the building,” he added.
Lucky Begum, a garment worker whose legs got broken as she jumped off the rooftop of the affected building, said, “Panic seized me and I jumped as I saw smoke engulfing the entire area.”
The panic soon spread out to Nilkheth, Newmarket and Elephant Road areas causing huge traffic gridlock.

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