About 50 people were injured, some critically burned. Many were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Fire officials expect the death toll to rise. The blaze broke out at night when many residents were sleeping. It may have originated from a gas cylinder in the building and people could not escape. Many of the victims were trapped inside the buildings.
Victims included people outside the buildings and some guests at a restaurant. Members of a bridal party are also among the victims. Most of the bodies were charred beyond recognition. Firefighters fought for more than ten hours to put out the blaze. Chawkbazar is one of the most important areas in Old Dhaka, a historic district established about 400 years ago during the Mughal dynasty. The centuries-old district has narrow streets and buildings very close to each other. The most serious threat comes from the fact that residential buildings are used for commercial purposes, with ground floors serving as chemical and gas cylinder warehouses. In June 2010, a blaze in the Nimtali district killed 124 people, a fire that was also made worse by the presence of an illegal chemicals warehouse. Dhaka is one of the world’s most densely populated cities.