Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wedding stoves triggered Dhaka blaze: probe

DHAKA (AFP) – A toxic blaze that killed more than 120 people in the Bangladeshi capital this month was started by cooking for a wedding feast, a government probe said Tuesday.

Police initially said the fire, which destroyed six large residential buildings in the old quarter of Dhaka, was caused by an electrical fault.

"The wedding feast was being cooked on makeshift stoves right next to a chemical warehouse, which heated up the extremely flammable chemicals," the official investigation report said.

"The heated chemicals exploded, which was the cause of the devastating fire. Then the burning chemicals quickly spread down the street like lava of a volcanic eruption," it said.

Investigators said two electrical transformers exploded after the blaze engulfed them.

More than 40 members of the wedding party were among the dead.

The toll went so high because the old part of Dhaka is one of the city's most densely populated areas and building regulations are rarely enforced, the investigation said.

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