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Screaming residents flee four-storey fireball as at least 69 perish in blaze

At least 69 people have perished in a fast-moving fire after it ripped through a historic district in Bangladesh.

The death toll jumped dramatically on Thursday, a fire official said, and could keep climbing as firefighters combed the wreckage of the destroyed building in Dhaka.

The fire broke out in a four-storey building on Wednesday night and quickly spread to neighbouring flats in the Chawkbazar area of Old Dhaka, which dates back to the Mughal period more than 300 years ago.

Julfikar Rahman, a director of the Fire Service and Civil Defence, said at least 50 people had been taken to hospital, some in critical condition.

Fir fighters fought for more than five hours to bring it under control, although it was still burning early on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze.

Mahfuz Riben, a control room official of the Fire Service and Civil Defence in Dhaka, said the death toll had risen to 69 and many victims had become trapped in the buildings.


The Dhaka Tribune reported that the building housed a plastics warehouse and was full of flammable material.

Mr Rahman said: "The number could rise further as searching is still continuing.

"The cause of the fire is not yet clear."


He said firefighters struggled to find adequate water supplies and had to draw water from a nearby mosque to fight the blaze.

Building safety regulations are rarely followed in Bangladesh, where accidents kill hundreds every year.

The Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,100 workers and a fire in a garment factory in 2012 killed 112 people.

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