The three buildings, including a garments factory, which were damaged by the fire that broke out in the 'Jhutpotti' area of Mirpur yesterday, did not have any fire safety equipment or systems, the Fire Service and Civil Defense said.
"The buildings had no fire extinguisher. Firefighters safely rescued five people who were trapped in the building," said Lt. Col. Zillur Rahman, a fire service director (operations and maintenance).
He said that the fire first broke out at the Jhut warehouse at around 1:20pm and then spread rapidly to three adjacent buildings. Later, firefighters doused the blaze at 3:30pm. However, 10 Jhut warehouses were gutted.
Fire service director Zillur Rahman said, "There was not enough spaces between the buildings to fight the fire. Firefighters also had difficulty putting out the blaze because of the Jhut and the clothing stored there."
The flames spread to three buildings moments after the fire broke out, and there were no emergency exits in the buildings, the official added.
A person who suffered burns was sent to a local hospital. Meanwhile, two rescuers who were injured, including a woman, were sent to hospital in an unconscious state.
The fire service had no access to the garment factory because of a lack of sufficient space and the absence of an emergency exit. The second floor of the garment factory was badly damaged. None of the floors had fire safety systems," he added.
Hafizur Rahman, owner of the five-storied Khan Garments factory, said, "After originating from Jhutpotti, the fire spread to my factory. The fire broke out during lunch break. That is why most of the workers were not in the factory."
The fire fighters were trying to extinguish the fire from outside the building. But the fire spread rapidly because of the piles of clothing in the factory, and that made it difficult for firefighters to douse the flame.
When asked, the factory owner, Hafizur Rahman, refused to comment.
Abdur Rashid, owner of one of the Jhut warehouses, told The Business Standard, "I invested Tk10 lakhs in the warehouse. But all my savings and earnings have been burnt to ashes.
"How can I pay my bank loans and other debts?" the warehouse owner asked, breaking into tears.
The fire service has formed a committee to investigate the fire. The committee has been asked to submit the report within the next 10 working days.