70 dead in Bangladesh fire

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Published on 21 Feb 2019, 11:51
At least 70 people died in a major fire that engulfed several buildings in a centuries-old neighborhood of the Bangladesh capital, a fire official said on Thursday (February 21), warning the toll could climb as fire fighters scour the rubble.

Lax regulations and poor enforcement of rules in impoverished Bangladesh have often been blamed for several large fires that have led to hundreds of deaths in recent years.

The city's worst fire since 2012 broke out late on Wednesday (February 20) night in a five-story building, before spreading to others nearby in the Chawkbazar precinct - parts of which date back more than 300 years to the Mughal period.

Residents said they had urged authorities several times to relocate the warehouses in the area, but were not heeded.

About 200 firefighters had battled for more than five hours to contain the blaze in narrow lanes snaking between tightly-packed buildings in an area authorities say is home to more than 3 million people.

Firemen said they struggled to get enough water to douse the flames and had to pump supplies from a nearby mosque.

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