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Fire at Bangladesh office tower kills at least 19

By Clyde Hughes and Danielle Haynes
Fire at Bangladesh office tower kills at least 19
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire that broke out at a high-rise building in the Banani area of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Thursday. Photo by Monirul Alam/EPA-EFE

March 28 (UPI) -- At least 19 people died and a number of others were injured in a fire Thursday at an office high-rise in Dhaka, Bangladesh, emergency officials said.

The fire began in the FR Tower and trapped workers inside the 22-story building. Some jumped from the tower to escape the flames. Dhaka fire service spokesperson Ataur Rahman said crews were able to get the blaze under control on the sixth floor.

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Fire Service and Civil Defense officials said at least 19 people died, though the figure may rise during rescue operations.

Authorities identified one of the dead as Abdullah Al Faruk, 35, a master's student at Dhaka University. Doctors pronounced him dead after reaching Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, chief coordinator of the National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery at the hospital, told the Daily Star Faruk was burned on 90 percent of his body. Officials also identified Parvez Sazzad, Amina Yeasmin and Sri Lankan national Niras Chandra among the dead.

At least four died after leaping from the tower, hospital senior executive Sazzadur Rahman said.

Dhaka officials said 21 teams of firefighters tried to douse the blaze and dispatched a helicopter to help.

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The cause of the fire was not initially known.

In February, at least 70 people died after a fire engulfed several buildings in Dhaka's Chawkbazar neighborhood.

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