Mirpur slum fire: 3-member probe body formed

Mirpur slum fire: 3-member probe body formed

A three-member probe committee has been formed to investigate the devastating slum fire in Chalantika area of Dhaka's Mirpur.

The probe committee has been asked to give a report in this regard within 15 working days, said Director (finance and administration) of Fire Service and Civil Defence Habibur Rahman.

Meanwhile, firefighters were conducting a search operation at the slum since this morning.

So far, they have enlisted 300 families who have been affected by the fire that burned down their 600 rooms last night, our Staff correspondent reports from the spot quoting a fire service official.

Most of the slum dwellers passed the night in the streets and in the open space of nearby Public Works Department (PWD) office premises.

Many of them suffered minor injuries while escaping the fire last night. They took primary treatment from the local pharmacies.

Soheli Begum, a dweller of the slum, said the fire originated near Mirpur-7 and it took some time to reach the other end of the slum where she resided.

However, they did not have any exit and so they had to escape after breaking a wall, she said.

She has lost her valuables in the fire including a fridge that her son bought four months ago, she added.

Many of the dwellers were seen coming to the site in the morning to find anything sellable out of the ruin for buying daily necessities.

The massive fire broke out at the slum in Chalantika area of Mirpur at around around 7:22pm. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

After a three-hour effort, 24 firefighting units brought the fire under control around 10:35pm.

It was later doused around 1:30am after six hours of frantic efforts by the firefighters, according to the information board of Fire Service and Civil Defence.

The firefighters rescued four injured people and took them to hospital.

The blaze rendered thousands of slum dwellers homeless and left nothing for them other than charred valuables. They are mostly low-wage earners, including garment workers, rickshaw-pullers, house maids and day labourers.

 Most of the shanties were made of wood or bamboo with the roofs covered with polythene, which helped the fire spread quickly, a fire service official earlier told this newspaper.

Many of the families went to their hometowns to celebrate Eid and were yet to return, a local said, adding that the blaze destroyed everything as most of the shanties were locked from outside.

The slum has three units and can accommodate around 1,000 families, locals said.

Portion of nearby Al-Arabiya mosque have been gutted in the fire.