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Dhaka shopping mall fire: Three arrested

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Bangladesh police have arrested three people, including two owners of a restaurant, in connection with the massive fire that broke out at a shopping mall in the capital Dhaka that killed at least 46 people.

The fire broke out around 9:50 pm on Thursday at the restaurant named “Kacchi Bhai” on the first floor of the building, Green Cozy Cottage, and quickly spread to the upper floors that had more restaurants and a garment shop, according to fire service officials.

Two owners of an eatery called Chumuk and the manager of Kacchi Bhai restaurant were arrested on Friday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner Kh Mahid Uddin said.

“The fire started from the food shop on the ground floor of the building. The police will file a case over negligence in connection with the deaths in the fire incident,” he added.

At least 46 people were killed, and over 20 others sustained severe injuries by a devastating fire on Thursday night.

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Firefighters rescued 70 people, including 42 in unconscious state, from the rooftop and different floors of the seven-storey Green Cozy Cottage.

Legal action will be taken against whoever is found responsible in this incident, he added.

He said that three people arrested in this incident are being interrogated.

The building did not have permission to house restaurants.

The building had permission for office use, not restaurants and eateries, according to Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk).

But the building housed eight restaurants, a juice bar, and a coffee shop, the report said.

Ashraful Islam, Town Planner and Director of the Detailed Area Planning (DAP) project of Rajuk said commercial approval had been taken for the building from one to seven floors.

But it was only for office use. There was no approval for restaurants, showrooms, or anything else, he added.

The building had a single staircase, and lacked ventilation, an emergency exit, and other safety features, said Brigadier General Main Uddin, a top fire service official.

Fires are common in densely populated Dhaka, where a lot of new buildings have sprung up, and many lack adequate safety measures.

In July 2021, many children were among the 54 people killed at a food processing factory outside Dhaka, while at least 70 people were killed in a February 2019 fire that engulfed a centuries-old precinct.

The worst fire accident in Bangladesh’s history took place in 2012 when a blaze at a garment factory killed at least 111 people. (Agencies)

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