Asia

Bangladesh fire: Deadly blaze hits Banani building in Dhaka

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Media captionThe fire broke out in an upmarket area of Dhaka

At least 19 people have been killed in a huge blaze in a high-rise building in an upmarket commercial area of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

Seventy people have been injured, a spokesman for the local fire brigade has told the BBC.

Firefighters have now entered the building after the fire was brought under control.

The death toll may rise further, as dozens are feared trapped inside the 19-storey office block in Banani.

They are believed to have been situated on the upper floors of the building, above where the fire broke out.

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Image caption Helicopters dropped water on the tall building in Dhaka to bring the fire under control

Local media said people were seen shouting for help from windows and at least six people jumped out of the burning building.

Fire crews, backed by members of the navy and air force, were called to the scene to tackle the blaze. Dozens of people have been rescued.

"Nineteen fire-fighting units are working at the scene. Bangladesh navy and air force have also joined to fight the fire," duty officer Mohammad Russel from Dhaka's central fire service control room is quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

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Image caption Hundreds of panicked relatives and friends gathered outside the building
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Fire crews, backed by members of the navy and air force, brought the fire under control

Air force helicopters were seen rescuing people from the rooftop.

Helicopters also dropped water on the burning building from above while hundreds of panicked relatives and friends gathered outside the building.

Large fires are relatively common in Bangladesh, owing to lax safety regulations and poor building conditions. Hundreds of people have been killed in recent years.

Last month, a massive blaze in Dhaka's old quarter killed at least 78 people and injured dozens more.

That same month, a fire in a slum in the coastal city of Chittagong killed at least nine people.

Dhaka, with a population of more than 18 million, is one of the world's most densely populated cities. Some 3.5 million of its people live in slums, according to the World Bank.

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