Huge fire engulfs Bangladesh market stocked up for Eid

Huge fire engulfs Bangladesh market stocked up for Eid
The Bongo Bazar market sells clothes that were produced in the city’s garment factories but failed to meet export standards. (AFP)
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Updated 04 April 2023

Huge fire engulfs Bangladesh market stocked up for Eid

Huge fire engulfs Bangladesh market stocked up for Eid
  • Thousands of shops destroyed at Bangabazar in Dhaka
  • Firefighters battle for six hours to bring blaze under control

DHAKA: Hundreds of firefighters were mobilized on Tuesday to battle a huge blaze that gutted thousands of shops in a popular Dhaka clothing market area.

The fire broke out at 6:10 a.m. at Bangabazar Market. Casualty numbers and the cause of the blaze were not immediately clear. About 50 firefighting units, with the help of the police and army, worked for about six hours to douse the flames. Helicopters were also seen spraying water from above.

“We have yet to know the reasons behind this fire. It requires thorough investigation,” Lt. Col. Mohammad Tajul Islam Chowdhury, operations director at the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defense, told Arab News.

“We are observing the ashes at the moment, which may reignite,” he said. “These observations will continue for the whole day tomorrow (Wednesday) so that the fire can’t cause any further destruction.”

Chowdhury said a five-person committee has been formed to investigate.

Bangabazar Market is one of the main destinations for cut-price items from international brands such as Calvin Klein, where clothes produced by the city’s garment factories are sold at an affordable price after they failed to meet export standards.

Shop owners were stocking up and banking on good business before Eid Al-Fitr celebrations later this month, but Tuesday’s fire is leaving them destitute.

Mahbubul Alam told Arab News that he had rushed to his shop as soon as he heard about the blaze, but it was already too late.

“By then, all of my goods were burnt into ashes. I couldn’t save any single pieces,” Alam said.

“Just before Ramadan, I bought new collections worth around $21,000. Only a little portion of these goods were sold, most of them were burnt. I don’t know how to cover the losses.”

Mohammad Russel, who has worked in wholesaling for more than a decade, lost two of his shops and an estimated $38,000 of stock.

“All of my dreams and hopes were burnt with ashes, I need to start from zero once again,” Russel told Arab News.

“I have to struggle to exist and maintain livelihood along with six members of my family,” he said. “There will be no joy for me this Eid.”