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10 Bangladeshis die in Bahrain blaze
Sunday, 13 January 2013
Thirteen workers, 10 of them Bangladeshi, burnt to death in a fire that raged through a three-storey building used as a bachelors’ camp in Manama on Friday afternoon, said reports reaching here Saturday from the Bahrain capital.

Mohidul Islam, first secretary of Bangladesh embassy in Bahrain, said they identified 10 of the fire victims as Bangladeshis.

Four of them were identified as Nazir Ahmed, son of Sakir Ahmed, Shahjahan Mia alias Jasim, son of Abu Taher, Saiful Islam alias Sujon, son of Shahid Mia and Md Anwar, son of Abul Bashar, he added.

Of the dead, three hailed from Patiya and Boalkhali in Chittagong district, said M Zahirul Alam Majumder, Assistant Director of Employment and Manpower Office in Chittagong.

They were identified as Mahbubul Alam, son of Haji Rashid Ahmed, of Bathua union and Mohammad Jamal , son of Abdul Aziz, of Naripara village in Patiya upazila and Nazir Ahmed, son of Sakir Ahmed, of Char Khijirpur in Boalkhali upazila.

However, all the bodies were transferred to the Salmaniya Medical Complex mortuary while the injured were undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Civil Defence sources in the Middle-East country said firefighters rushed to the Mukharqa neighbourhood after the blaze was reported at 3:44pm.

Several tenants were rescued from the burning building and the fire was brought under control before it spread to nearby buildings.

A fireman was injured when the roof of the building collapsed during the blaze.

“We are still awaiting identification of the bodies which were recovered by Civil Defence personnel from the debris,” the acting director-general of Civil Defence said.

The authorities at night ordered a probe into the fire incident.

Sources said the unlicensed building had 26 rooms occupied mostly by ‘free-visa’ workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.

“The majority were Bangladeshis and seven to 10 people lived in each room.”

Officials said three Pakistanis suffered burns and were transferred to SMC.

“Mohammed Akram, 40, suffered burns to his hands and left leg, Saeed Ahmed, 38, suffered second-degree burns to his face, legs and hands, and Mohammed Aslam suffered minor burns to his hands and legs.”

Thick smoke reached the sky and was visible from a distance.

“Initially we thought it was a minor fire but after sometime we saw thick smoke coming out of the building and neighbours panicked,” said an eyewitness.

“It spread so fast that the whole building went down in minutes,” he said about the infernal blaze.

“Police cordoned off the area. Firemen brought the bodies out one by one and I saw 13 bodies. They were still working at the site at 10pm when we left,” he added.

Sources said the roof of the building collapsed in the fire and the structure could be razed because it is not safe.

This is the second deadliest fire involving labour camps in Bahrain. A fire in a Gudaibiya labour camp killed 16 workers in 2006. Another blaze in East Riffa killed 10 last year.