Office workers trapped in major new Dhaka inferno


DHAKA, BANGLADESH: A huge fire tore through a 19-storey commercial building in Dhaka on Thursday, with many office workers feared trapped in the latest major inferno to hit the Bangladesh capital.

People were seen shouting for help from windows, video footage from the scene showed, while at least six people jumped out of the burning tower, the Daily Star newspaper reported.

Helicopters dropped water on the burning building from above while hundreds of panicked onlookers crowded the streets in the upmarket commercial district of Banani.

Scores of firefighters were backed by navy and air force experts, authorities said.

Shoikot Rahman ran to safety after hearing colleagues raise the alarm, narrowly escaping the smoke and flames engulfing the building.

“When I heard a fire broke out in the building, I quickly rushed out of the building,” he told AFP. “Many of my colleagues are still trapped in the office.”

However, there was no official word on how many people were trapped inside.

A massive blaze in Dhaka´s old quarter last month killed at least 70 people and injured 50 others.

Fire service officials said a warehouse of deodorant and granular plastic in one of the five buildings that caught fire fuelled that inferno, which took more than 12 hours to control.

A June 2010 fire in the nearby neighbourhood of Nimtoli in which 123 people were killed.