Chittagong slum fire kills 21

DHAKA, Reuters

At least 21 people were killed in a fire that raged through a slum district of Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong early on Tuesday, police and witnesses said.

They said the dead included 10 children and eight women, and that around 25 others were injured and taken to hospital.

The blaze erupted in the city’s Bau Bazar slum in the Bakulia area, gutting at least 30 houses before fire fighters brought it under control after four hours. Six storage areas for garment factory waste, adjacent to the slum, were also gutted.

Police and firefighters have recovered 21 charred bodies and are looking for more under the smoldering debris, one witness told Reuters by telephone.

Police said the fire was started by an electric spark in one of the storerooms and spread quickly through the slum, where people were still sleeping.

Last week a fire at a multi-storey building in the capital Dhaka destroyed offices of two private television channels and a newspaper. The cause of the fire has not been ascertained yet.