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Bangladesh mall fire raises safety issues
Posted on: 14-03-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

killing at least seven people and raising new questions about safety in the accident-prone country.

Dozens of people were injured in the blaze that started on a top floor of the 21-storey building and soon spread to the others whipped by the wind on Friday.

The blaze could not be controlled quickly due to a lack of required safety tools available to the government's fire services department, officials said.

They also said the building's own fire-fighting system either did not work or failed to switch on automatically.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence department's only aerial ladder could not reach beyond the 13th floor, said Shahidul Islam, who led the rescue operations at the Bashundhara City Complex. Adequate water was also unavailable at the spot.

It took 10 hours to put out the blaze, which started early afternoon on Friday.

"We will look at these issues quickly after the current disaster has been tackled," said Tanzim Ahmed Sohel Taj, state minister for home affairs old reporters.

Television pictures showed the blaze spreading through five or six upper floors.

Thick smoke rose over the building and flames could be seen on the upper floors, a witness said. Army helicopters rescued people from the roof of the building as members of the Rapid Action Battalion elite force and the army helped stop the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The low-lying impoverished country of 140 million is bedevilled by disastrous floods and typhoons, and has a woeful record of ferry, rail and road accidents.

 
 

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