More Than 100 Dead in Bangladesh Fire

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - A huge fire raced through several
apartment buildings and devastated a rooftop wedding party in the
Bangladeshi capital, killing at least 108 people and injuring more
than 100 others, officials and local media said Friday.

The blaze started when an electric transformer exploded late
Thursday, igniting a three-story apartment building in the
Najirabazar area of old Dhaka before spreading to several other
buildings, fire official Nazrul Islam said.

Rescuers recovered at least 87 charred bodies from the
buildings, and other people may have died on the way to hospital,
Islam said. Citing officials at the scene and hospital doctors, ATN
Bangla television station said at least 108 people were killed and
more than 100 injured.

"It has caused a huge devastation," Islam told The Associated
Press.

Victims included several guests of a wedding party on the roof
of one of the apartment buildings, Islam said.

He said the firefighters had the blaze under control and that
rescue efforts continued Friday.

Bangla Vision TV station quoted unnamed fire officials as saying
the fire had spread to at least 20 apartment complexes. TV footage
showed firefighters and residents carrying injured victims by
tricycle rickshaws to hospitals as relatives wailed.

The state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital was overwhelmed
with burned patients. Burn unit chief Shamanta Lal Sen said he had
seen "such a scenario" in his 40-year career.

Bangla Vision said rescue efforts were hampered the area's
narrow roads.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her shock over the
incident and sent condolences to the families of the victim.

Authorities ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire.


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