Fire safety needs attention


In a city like Dhaka, the need for fire safety increases alongside its progress

It is unfortunate that the capital had to witness two more disastrous fires with only two days left in 2019 — a year that has been all but defined by major fires breaking out, claiming both lives and livelihoods. Thankfully though, in these two latest fires, no lives were lost.

Of the two fires, one was in Mirpur and another in Kamrangirchar. While these newest fires have borne no deaths — although there are reports of numerous injuries — it is still all the more disheartening when we realize that, once again, it is the least privileged of our society who find themselves at a loss.

According to fire service officials, both fires had originated due to electrical malfunctioning, with the Mirpur fire setting several shanties and scrap shops ablaze and the Kamrangirchar fire gutting down a plastics factory.

While the fire-fighters eventually doused the flames, the damage had already been done. But what is especially curious is the conflicting information regarding the Mirpur fire, where the slum dwellers claim the damage to be higher than that of official estimates.

The practice of slums being cleared by acts of arson is not new in Bangladesh, and we hope that law enforcers look into this matter with a more critical eye.

Regardless of intent, it is deeply regrettable that we were not able to come out of 2019 without more fires leaving a mark on the already dire state of our safety and security. Time and again we have editorialized on the need for more comprehensive safety and security measures.

In a city like Dhaka, one that is undergoing rapid industrialization and urbanization, the need for fire safety increases alongside its progress.

We cannot afford to be callous or ignorant when it comes to the issue of safety and security.