Dhaka, Mar 29: Hopeless workers leaped to their deaths, as a huge fire tore through a Dhaka office block on Thursday killing at least 7 people and trapping others in the latest major blazes to hit the Bangladesh capital. Six people died after jumping from the 22-floor building while another victim suffered fatal burns, officials said.
Emergency services said at least 65 people were being treated in hospitals. People were seen screaming for help as hundreds of panicked onlookers crowded the streets of the upmarket Banani commercial district.
Some workers slid down a television cable on the side of the building. Others grabbed ropes lowered by emergency service helicopters which pulled them out of the blaze.
The misconception erupted barely a month after at least 70 people were killed in Dhaka apartment buildings where illegally stored chemicals exploded. The latest disaster brought new scenes of horror amid fears that the toll would rise. More than 100 ambulances were parked in streets around the building.
Shoikot Rahman heard colleagues raise the alarm and ran to safety before smoke and flames engulfed the building.
"When I heard a fire broke out in the building, I quickly rushed out," he said. "Many of my colleagues are still trapped in the office."
Firefighters on long ladders smashed windows to create escape routes. More than one hour after the blaze erupted people could still be seen on the 13th and 14th floors desperately waving for help amid clouds of black smoke.
Army helicopters dangled ropes that victims grabbed so they could be lifted to safety, with crowds below cheering and applauding every time someone was rescued.