Chawkbazar fire: Rescue called off; death toll 70

— Tk 30 lakh given to victims at DMCH

— 37 bodies identified and handed over to families so far

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Authorities have called off rescue operation after dousing the ghastly fire at Chawkbazar which has claimed lives of about 70 people so far.

Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon called off rescue operation officially around 12:10pm after nearly 14 hours of efforts.

Maj Shakil Newaz, a director of Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence, has confirmed The Daily Star of the development.

However, small explosion was reported at a warehouse on the 2nd floor of one of the buildings around 4:30pm that was doused instantly.

Dhaka’s Additional Deputy Commissioner Shafiqul Islam told The Daily Star the bodies will be handed over to legal custodians after autopsy.

The bodies have been kept at Dhaka Medical College morgue for identification. So far, about 37 bodies have been identified and the rest were charred beyond recognition.

Sohel Mahmud, head of forensics at Dhaka Medical College, told The Daily Star that unidentified corpses will be subjected to DNA testing.

Primarily, the district administration will be handing Tk 20,000 for burial during handover of the bodies, Additional Deputy Commissioner Shafiqul said.

Last reported from Chawkbazar, a few teams of fire fighters were still at the spot on standby and additional police force was deployed. The fire fighters formed one probe body to investigate the incident.

Bangladesh government said it will compensate the victims and that it was “a lesson learned” to avert any recurrence in the future.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock over the incident and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul.

Law minister Anisul Huq also extended his condolences to the bereaved families.


According to several eyewitnesses and survivors, the fire began after a big blast in Chawkbazar, a hub in Old Dhaka, around 10:40pm.

According to what can be ascertained, the fire sparked out from a chemical warehouse on the ground floor of the five-storied building named Hazi Wahed Mansion.

The flames quickly spread to three other buildings nearby, including a community centre.

Source: The Daily Star