Dhaka's Bongo Bazar Engulfed in Flames: A Community in Crisis

fire in bangladesh's clothing market

On April 4, 2023, the bustling capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, found itself in the midst of a devastating fire that consumed the city's iconic clothing market, Bongo Bazar. The fire, which took more than six hours to contain, also ravaged three adjacent markets, leaving a trail of destruction and despair in its wake.

Key Points:

  • Around 600 firefighters from across the city were dispatched to tackle the massive blaze, which had spread quickly through the predominantly timber and tin structures that housed the market's numerous stalls. Despite their efforts, the fire was exacerbated by high winds and a lack of water. With no fatalities reported, the incident did leave 11 people injured, including five firefighters.
  • The Bongo Bazar, constructed in the 1980s, is a popular destination for bargain hunters seeking discounted Western fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger. The market offers clothing produced in the city's garment factories, which failed to meet export standards but still appealed to local consumers. The area is also home to Dhaka's most prestigious university and the national police headquarters.
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  • For many shop owners, the timing of the disaster could not have been worse. With the Muslim festival of Eid just around the corner, the devastating fire has left them in a state of financial ruin. One business owner recounted the loss of 1.5 million taka ($14,200) that had been invested in clothing for the upcoming celebration.
  • banglades market
  • Bangladesh is no stranger to building fires and explosions, with a history of incidents caused by leaking gas cylinders, faulty air conditioners, and substandard electrical wiring. Last month, a central Dhaka market explosion claimed the lives of at least 23 people due to a faulty gas line.
  • As the dust settles on this tragic event, questions are raised about the safety and fire risk management of Dhaka's markets. Bongo Bazar had been designated a fire risk back in 2019, with multiple warning letters issued since then. This latest catastrophe underscores the urgent need for addressing these hazards and ensuring the safety of the community.