POST TIME: 10 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Fire incidents raise alarm as summer approaches
Staff Reporter

Fire incidents raise alarm as summer approaches

Incidents of fire in the capital and its surrounding areas have increased recently due to poor compliance with safety norms by factories, markets and households. With the advent of summer, such incidents are becoming more frequent, causing a huge loss of lives and property and spreading panic among people. Though an increasing number of factories and markets in Bangladesh are built in compliance with fire-safety measures, hundreds of older units in converted residential buildings often lack adequate fire escapes, alarms, first aid, and fire-fighting equipment. In the last few months this year, there has been more than one fire a month. A fire broke out in a warehouse yesterday and spread through shops adjacent to the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in Dhaka. The fire destroyed shops on the east side of the marketplace before the prayers. Five units of fire-fighters reached the scene and managed to put out the flames within half an hour.

On January 30, a fire that broke out at the ‘City Heart Shopping Complex’ in the capital’s Naya Paltan area was doused after nearly one and half hours of frantic efforts.

On January 5, a fire broke out at the Gulistan underground market. On December 25 last year, another fire incident took place at the Lucky Textile Mill in Jatrabari’s Shyampur area in Dhaka.

Experts say such incidents are the result of unplanned urbanisation and a lack of adherence to the National Building Code while constructing new buildings, factories and markets.

In 2016, 16,857 incidents of fire were reported across the country. Dhaka itself saw 3,020 incidents, say sources in the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence. The estimated financial loss from fires last year was Tk, 240.43 crore, according to the Fire Service and Civil Defence.

On February 5, four members of a family were burnt in a fire that broke out in a house in Mohammadpur area. The fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit.

The country's garments sector has a long history of industrial accidents, but fire outbreaks in that sector have drawn the attention of national stakeholders and the international community. There are more than 5,000 garments factories in Bangladesh, around two-thirds of which are in operation. A fire claimed 112 lives in Tazreen Fashions Ltd on November 24, 2012. On January 26, 2013, eight people died when a fire broke out at Smart Export Garments. On October 8, 2013, seven people died in Aswad Composite.