Fire crews rushed to the scene of a huge blaze that broke out in a 19-storey commercial building in Dhaka on Thursday, an emergency official said, weeks after a deadly fire in the Bangladeshi capital left at least 70 people dead.
“Nineteen fire-fighting units are working at the scene. Bangladesh navy and air force have also joined to fight the fire,” said Duty Officer Mohammad Russel from Dhaka’s central fire service control room.
There was no official word on casualties, but several people were believed to be trapped inside the tower in Banani area of the Bangladeshi capital, according to The Daily Star news website.
Helicopters dropped water on the burning building from above while hundreds of panicked onlookers crowded the streets in the upmarket commercial district of Banani.
Images on social media showed intense flames and thick black smoke pouring out of the building.
Al Jazeera’s Tanveer Chaudhry, reporting from Dhaka, said “at least six people have jumped off the building”.
“There are 95 emergency services working and helicopters hovering above…. trying to rescue some people from the roof as well.
“The fire took place on the 9th floor of the building but we don’t know under what circumstances.”
A massive blaze in Dhaka’s old quarter last month killed at least 70 people and injured 50 others.
Fire service officials said a warehouse of deodorant and granular plastic in one of the five buildings that caught fire fuelled that inferno, which took more than 12 hours to control.
The disaster recalled a June 2010 fire in the nearby neighbourhood of Nimtoli in which 123 people were killed.
Al Jazeera and news agencies