Ani Akter Poli, a mother of two, was busy with household chores and oblivious to what happened at Dhaka’s Banani until she received a frantic phone call from her husband Mirza Atikur Rahman around 1pm yesterday.
A frightened Atikur urged her to pray for him, as he had become trapped in a room of FR Tower when it caught fire.
“He [Atikur] said he was stuck in a room in FR tower with some of his colleagues after it caught fire. The whole floor was covered in smoke, and he could not breath,” Poli said.
After attempting to calm her husband, Poli stormed out of their rented house at Manikdi and headed for the tower. By the time she reached the location, the blaze had intensified and no one could tell her where her husband was.
Atikur is an executive officer of Scanwell logistic Bangladesh, which had an office on the 12th floor of the building.
Poli searched for her husband at every possible place he could have been brought to by rescuers - Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), United Hospital, and Kurmitola General Hospital - but could not find him.
Like Poli, many other relatives of missing victims of the fire also thronged to the hospitals. The size of crowds outside the hospitals increased in the evening, after Fire Service finally doused the flame, as many could not find the names of their missing relatives on the rescue list.
One such victim’s relative who was at DMCH was Tarikun Nahar Jini. Her brother Tanjir Siddique Abir worked on the 14th floor of FR Tower.
“When we last spoke to my brother on the phone, he was on the 18th floor,” Jini said.