At least 14 killed, dozens injured in Bangladesh building explosion

At least 14 peo­ple were killed and dozens injured in an explo­sion at a sev­en-sto­ry com­mer­cial build­ing in Bangladesh’s cap­i­tal Dha­ka on Tues­day, offi­cial sources said.

The blast occurred in Gulis­tan, a busy com­mer­cial area of Dha­ka, Fire Depart­ment offi­cial Rashed bin Khaled said by phone.

Fire offi­cials said the first and sec­ond floors of the build­ing, which hous­es sev­er­al shops sell­ing plumb­ing prod­ucts and dai­ly neces­si­ties, were bad­ly damaged.

The cause of the explo­sion is unclear.

At least 11 fire­fight­ers are work­ing at the blast site, Khaled said.

Bac­chu Mia, an offi­cial at the state-run Dha­ka Med­ical Col­lege Hos­pi­tal, said more than 50 peo­ple had been rushed for treat­ment, of whom at least 14 had died.

Bangladesh has a his­to­ry of fires and indus­tri­al dis­as­ters, includ­ing burn­ing down a fac­to­ry where work­ers were trapped. Watch­dog groups denounce cor­rup­tion and lax law enforcement.

Thou­sands were left home­less on Sun­day after a mas­sive fire erupt­ed in a crowd­ed Rohingya refugee camp in south­ern Bangladesh. No casu­al­ties were report­ed at Barkhhali camp in Cox’s Bazar district.

In 2012, about 117 work­ers were trapped and killed when exits were closed at a gar­ment fac­to­ry in Dhaka.

The fol­low­ing year saw the coun­try’s worst indus­tri­al dis­as­ter, with the col­lapse of the Rana Plaza gar­ment fac­to­ry on the out­skirts of Dha­ka, killing more than 1,100 people.

At least 67 peo­ple were killed in 2019 when fires rav­aged a 400-year-old block of apart­ments, shops and ware­hous­es in Dhaka’s old­est dis­trict. In 2010, at least 123 peo­ple died in a fire in a house ille­gal­ly stor­ing chem­i­cals in the old city of Dhaka.

In 2021, a fire at a food and bev­er­age fac­to­ry on the out­skirts of Dha­ka killed at least 52 peo­ple, many of whom were trapped inside by ille­gal­ly closed doors.

Last year, a fire at a ship­ping con­tain­er ware­house near Chit­tagong, the coun­try’s main sea­port, killed at least 41 peo­ple, includ­ing nine fire­fight­ers, and injured more than 100 others.

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