• Wednesday, Jan 26, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Attempt to escape Bhashantek fire kills two infants

  • Published at 03:20 am February 28th, 2019
Bhashantek
A child rummaging through debris after a fire broke out in Dhaka's Bhashantek area early Thursday, barely eight days after the deadly blaze in Dhaka's Chawkbazar Dhaka Tribune

The fire has gutted around 1,000 shanties

Firemen retrieved the bodies of two infants from a nearby waterbody, after a fire broke out in Dhaka’s Bhashantek area in the early hours of Thursday, barely eight days after a deadly fire in Old Dhaka’s Chawkbazar which left 69 people dead.

The deceased are three-month-old Yasmin, and two and a half year old Tonmoy. 

Confirming the news, Fire Service and Civil Defence, and police, said the bodies were recovered from the ditch at the slum called “Jahangirer Bosti.”

But the deaths were not caused by the fire but by the mad rush for survival during the blaze, they said.

The fire broke out around 1:30am and ripped through the slum quickly, said fire service sources.

It took some 21 firefighting units to douse the fire after a frantic effort of nearly six and a half hours, they added.

The authorities concerned could not determine the source of the fire, and they are yet to estimate the losses incurred. 

Meanwhile, the fire service has formed a five-member committee headed by its Deputy Director, Nur Hasan, to probe the cause of the fire.   

After the fire was controlled, Bhashantek police Officer-in-Charge (OC), Munshi Sabbir Ahmed,  gave an initial estimate that close to 1,000 shanties were damaged in the incident.

When asked whether it was a sabotage to evict the poor living in makeshift homes, the OC said they have not unearthed any such evidence.


“But we are looking into the matter,” said Sabbir, who believes that the slum accommodated up to 100,000 people.  

An unnatural death case has been filed in connection with the death of the infants, he maintained.

The incident at Bhashantek has taken place just eight days after a deadly fire in Old Dhaka’s Chawkbazar left 69 people dead.

Another fire broke out at a newly-constructed power grid substation in Keraniganj, on the outskirts of the capital, around 10:50pm on Wednesday. However, the fire was doused around 1am Thursday without any casualties.

What slum dwellers say

Slum dwellers said that a number of them jumped into the nearby waterbody with family members as the fire raged, in a bid to protect themselves. The parents of the two children killed also did the same, leading to the death of the minors, they said.

However, the Dhaka Tribune could not reach the parents to verify the matter.   

Kamal Hossain, one of the affected, said the fire started from the eastern side of the slum. 

“Another slum called ‘Kajoler Bosti,’  another slum just opposite ours was demolished on February 19,” he said.

“ people from ‘Kajoler Bosti’ took shelter in our slum,” he said, adding that the fire could be an act of sabotage to evict all the slum people.  

The affected are in a low income group and the fire added to their woes. 

Saying that they lost all their belongings in the fire, many said the inclement weather intensified their sufferings.  

Another 100 shanties were gutted in a fire a year ago, but that did not see any deaths. 

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