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POST TIME: 17 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 August, 2019 02:07:23 AM
Massive fire devastates Mirpur slum
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Massive fire devastates Mirpur slum

A fire burns slum houses in Mirpur-7 area of the capital yesterday evening. Independent Photo

A devastating fire yesterday raged through Chalantika Slum at Mirpur section-7 in the capital destroying about 2,500 shanties. As many as 24 units of the Fire Service and Civil Defence and 125 fire fighters brought the fire, which originated around 7:30pm, under control after about four hours at 11.30pm.

Four people were injured in the incident. The injured were identified as Rafiq, Kabir, Juwel Rana and Habib. Of them, Jewel Rana, a fire fighter, was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital while the rest were sent to Mirpur General Hospital. Fire Service Deputy Director (operations) Debashish Bardhan said dumping work has begun to estimate the damage and find out any possible causality.

He also said that it took more time to bring the fire under control for the scarcity of water sources in nearby areas. Saying that fire service staff  would continue salvage work in the slum through the night, Additional Secretary of home ministry Tarun Kanti Shikdar, who was on the spot, said the source of the fire would be identified after an investigation. “Strong wind was making the job of the firefighters difficult,” he said.

However, some witnesses said that the fire originated from a house and they heard a sound of a blast. Later it spread quickly to the whole area. Many people were seen in tears as their valuables were gutted in the fire. Many were trying to salvage whatever they could from the gutted shanties.

Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md Enamur Rahman and local lawmaker Elias Mollah visited the spot. Enamur Rahman said about 25,000 families were affected by the fire.He said that every affected family would be provided with financial assistance.

“Modern flats are being built for slum dwellers in Bauniya Badh area. We are planning to relocate the slum dweller there,” he added.  “Separate investigation committees would be formed by the home ministry, the city corporation, and the fire service and the cause of the fire would be ascertained in the investigation,” he added.

According to the local people, around 1,00,000 people lived in the slum, all of them being in the lower-income group. Most of the shanties were made of wood or bamboo, with the roofs covered with polythene. So the fire spread quickly, they added. Panicked by the fire, people of the area took to the street leaving their residences. No deaths were reported so far as most of the people were away owing to the Eid holidays, they added.