A fire that broke out at Bashundhara City Shopping Mall in the city’s Panthapath area on Sunday morning was brought almost under control, nearly eight hours after the incident.The fire broke out on level 6 of the market around 11:30 am, said fire service control room sources.Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defence Brig Gen Ali Ahmed Khan said 29 firefighting units are trying to bring the blaze under control. They are facing problems as there is scarcity of water at the backside of the shopping mall, he said.“We’ve already sought assistance from the City Corporation and Wasa (Water Supply and Sewerage Authority) for water,” said the DG.No one was injured in the market as all got out of the complex soon after the fire alarm, he added.
Masud Ranaa, a shop owner of the shopping mall, said the fire originated from a footwear shop, Khandaker Show.Talking to reporters, director (operations) of Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters Major Shakil Neowaj said the fire could not spread from level-6 to other floors but it engulfed 7-8 showrooms of the floor.He said they have been able to bring the fire under control partially but not fully yet. Smoke was seen billowing out of the building but there is no casualty, he said. “We’ve taken all kinds of steps so that the fire can’t spread to other floors,” Major Shakil said.General manager (HR/admin) of Bashundhara City Development Limited Major (retd) Mostafa Rahel Imam said, “The fire broke out from a footwear showroom. It’s just an accident. The fire couldn’t spread to other floors as our employees took prompt primary steps to douse the blaze.”Deputy Director of Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters Mizanur Rahman said they rescued 11 security guards from level-8 around 4:20 pm while eight more people rescued from level-6 around 1 pm.Head of marketing of Bashundhara City Development Limited Jasim Uddin said 7-8 shops were gutted in the fire by the time.Sohel Rana, a security guard of the complex, said over 10,000 people, including owners and employees, work at 2,600 shops in the Bashundhara City Shopping Mall.Talking to reporters, Bashundhara City Shopping Mall shop owner’s association president MA Hannan Aziz claimed that the extent of loses from the fire would go up to Tk 50 crore as some 100 shops of the level-6 were damaged.He also said they could not dismiss the possibility of sabotage behind the fire as law enforcement agencies had earlier advised us to stay alert.Bashundhara City Shopping Mall chief security officer M Latif Hasan said the market might not open before Wednesday. Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq visited the spot.Responding to a question from reporters about recurrence of fire incident in the shopping mall, the mayor said they will carry out investigation into the incident.Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Tejgaon Division Biplob Kumar Sarker also visited the spot.Earlier on March 13, 2009, seven employees of the shopping complex, including its own firefighters, died in a fire incident in the shopping mall.Besides, another fire broke out at the shopping mall on August 24, 2009.