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Police seek suspects for Bangladesh fire

By Darryl Coote
Police seek suspects for Bangladesh fire
Charges have been laid against 10 to 12 people in connection to the fire that ripped through Old Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo by Monirul Alam/EPA-EFE

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Police are seeking about a dozen suspects in connection to a fire that left scores dead as it ripped through Bangladesh's capital earlier this week, officials said.

The case filed Thursday evening by police included 10 to 12 people, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Ibrahim Khan said.

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"A case has been filed over deaths by negligence during the Chawkbazar fire," Ibrahim said Thursday from the scene of the fire, Dhaka Tribune reported.

The investigation is ongoing and he said he expects to lay charges.

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The announcement comes as an 11-member committee formed by the city's chief engineer, Rezaul Karim, visited the site Friday and said that all warehouses in Old Dhaka will be moved at any cost, Bangla News 24 reported.

Karim said that the government's new directive is to not issue any more licenses to set up chemical warhorses or factories in residential areas.

He said the incident would be investigated and new measures would be adopted based on the probe's report.

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Late Wednesday, a fire erupted in an apartment building that was also used to store chemicals in Chawbazar, Old Dhaka.

The fire raged for some 15 hours as firefighters worked through the night and into Thursday morning trying to get it under control.

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"Cans of deodorants and lighter refilling fuel were stored inside the buildings," director of fire service Lt. Col. Julfiqur Rahman said.

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The flammable chemicals are blamed for the fire lasting so long, the Daily Star reported.

In the end, several buildings were damaged and scores were killed with reports ranging from between 67 and 110 dead.

Of the deceased, 46 bodies have been handed over to their families, said Senior Assistant Commissioner of Dhaka District Administration Al Mansur.

Each family will receive TK20,000, about $240, from the government to help cover burial costs, Mansur said.

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