DHAKA • A fire broke out at a 22-storey building in the capital city of Bangladesh yesterday, killing 19 people and injuring dozens of others, officials said.
When the fire started at around mid-day at FR Tower in Dhaka's Banani area, at least six people were seen falling off the building while trying to escape the blaze. Many others were trying to climb down on the ledges.
Many of those trapped waved frantically from the building's windows and roof, witnesses said, as passers-by stood watching and praying below.
Two of the deceased were identified as Mr Abdullah Al Faruk, 35, and Mr Niras Chandra, a Sri Lankan.
Mr Faruk, who suffered 90 per cent burns, died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, while Mr Chandra fell to his death trying to escape from the fire.
Helicopters were brought in to join 22 firefighting units that worked with the army, navy, air force and police to battle the blaze as smoke billowed into the sky.
The fire broke out on the eighth floor of the building and engulfed the other floors immediately.
The blaze was brought under control by late afternoon, said Mr Farid Uddin, a duty officer of the Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
The building is in the upscale, built-up Banani area of the city.
Relatives were seen crying in despair and gathering in groups near the scene as they could not reach their family members through mobile phone.
One aggrieved mother told The Daily Star that her daughter Aparajita Barua works in an office on the 12th floor of the building. "During our last contact, she told us there were fumes in the building and that she was finding it difficult to breathe. Now, we can't reach her on the phone," she said.
Last month, a massive fire killed 71 people in an old neighbourhood of Dhaka, one the world's most densely populated cities.
REUTERS, THE DAILY STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK