The fire broke out in the Chawkbazar area of Dhaka at about 10.40pm (16:40 GMT) on Wednesday. The blaze began at an apartment building which was partly used to store chemicals. According to a fire services chief it may have been triggered by a gas cylinder.
Earlier Julfikar Rahman, a director of the local Fire Service and Civil Defence, commented: “So far 56 bodies have been recovered.
“The number could rise further as searching is still continuing.
“There was a traffic jam when the fire broke out. So people could not escape.”
More than 200 firefighters responded to the incident.
A second fire official said the “highly combustible” chemicals caused the blaze to intensify.
He commented: “It will take time. This is not like any other fire.”
In 2010 more than 120 were killed in Dhaka after a fire raced through a building being used to hold chemicals.
The incident was one of the five worst fire disasters in the city’s history.
At least 78 people have been killed and 50 injured after a fire tore through apartment buildings and chemical warehouses in a historic part of the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, according to Mohammed Nurul Islam, a senior official with the Home Affairs Ministry.
The latest such deadly blaze in the south Asian nation broke out Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET) in Dhaka's Chawkbazar area, a district in old Dhaka with sprawling narrow streets and densely-packed buildings.
Throughout the night, firefighters battled the blaze, which is believed to have started when a fuel cylinder stored in a car exploded.
Firefighters try to douse flames in Dhaka, Bangladesh on February 20, 2019.
Built over 400 years ago, Chawkbazar is a commercial and industrial hub in the old city of Dhaka that's known for its food. Over the past few decades its population has mushroomed with houses and apartments built on top of warehouses and factories over narrow, winding streets.
Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, Dhaka South City Corporation's Mayor, said that earlier in the week, city officials had conducted a raid in the area and had tried to close the chemical warehouses.
"Just two days before this happened, our mobile court team initiated raids to close these chemical warehouses from this old part of Dhaka -- just the past Monday!" Khokon said, adding that the city council is "fully committed to remove these chemical warehouses from old Dhaka."
People search for their relatives' names on a list of people who were injured when a fire broke out in Dhaka.
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