Huge fire engulfs market in Bangladeshi capital
Dhaka, Bangladesh — Hundreds of Bangladeshi firefighters were mobilized in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday to battle an inferno that raged through a popular clothing market and blanketed the city’s oldest neighborhoods in black smoke.
No casualties have been reported so far, but shop owners and fire officials told reporters that the Bongo Bazar market and three adjacent commercial precincts had been almost completely gutted.
“Some 600 firefighters … are working to bring the fire under control,” fire department spokesman Rakibul Islam told AFP, adding that the blaze began around dawn.
A military spokesman said in a statement that an air force helicopter had joined the firefighting effort.
Aerial footage from the chopper showed hundreds of people watching the fire from a nearby overpass.
The market is a popular destination for cut-price Western fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, selling clothes that were produced in the city’s garment factories but failed to meet export standards.
Distraught shop owners told reporters the blaze had left them destitute ahead of Eid, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan and the country’s biggest religious celebration.
“I borrowed 1.5 million taka ($14,100) to buy Eid clothing,” one business owner said. “I’ve lost everything.”