A six-story building housing shops and offices collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital Saturday, crushing tin-roof homes in a surrounding shanty, a fire official said. At least 15 people were killed and more were feared trapped.
Rescue workers pulled 13 bodies from the rubble in Dhaka’s central Tejgaon industrial district, fire brigade official Rafiqul Islam told The Associated Press. Another two people died on the way to hospital and dozens of people were injured, he said.
More than two dozen one-room homes were buried when the building collapsed, Ahmed said. Rescuers feared at least a dozen people were inside the homes, mostly relatives of day laborers who were not home.
Soldiers and firefighters use bulldozers, hammers or crowbars to search the rubble.
“We are working very carefully so no trapped survivor is hurt,” Ahmed said.
Munir Hossain, a doctor at a nearby hospital, said about a dozen survivors were badly hurt.
100 people may be trapped inside
Nearby residents estimated there were about 100 people inside the building when it fell, some of them operating small convenience shops on the ground floor.
One witness, Mizanur Rahman, said most of the victims from inside the building appeared to be construction workers adding a new story. Witnesses said passing pedestrians were also among those hurt.
Rahman said a garment factory had moved out of the building last month, but some of its staff was still on site completing the move.
Abdul Hamid, another local resident, said the offices inside the building mostly belonged to the company that owned the garment factory.
The owner of the building could not immediately be reached for comment.
The collapse came two days after a fire at a textile mill killed at least 54 workers and wounded dozens in southeastern Chittagong city, 135 miles southeast of Dhaka.