A massive fire broke out at Mohakhali's Sat Tola slum in the capital late last night and was brought under control by firefighters after 70 minutes of it ravaging the area.
The fire broke out around 11:45pm and 12 fire-fighting units brought the blaze under control around 12:55am, said Farhad Hossain, operator at Fire Service and Civil Defence headquarters control room.
Around 100 shanties and slum shops were gutted in the fire, slum dwellers said.
Lt Col Zillur Rahman, director (operations) of Fire Service and Civil Defence said around 1:00am this morning that it was not yet possible to say specifically about the cause of the fire right now. However, such fires usually occur due to electrical short circuits due to poor connections.
The Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defence Brig Gen Sajjad Hossain said much of the fire took place in the part of the slum where there are shops, and not the part where families live.
If the fire had caught on in the parts where people live, it could have been catastrophic, he added.
He said much of the firefighting manpower was taken up trying to clear hundreds of people from the area, adding that the narrow paths inside the slum made the task particularly difficult.
Talking to reporters, a woman claimed that the fire was caused due to an explosion of a refrigerator compressor and spread immediately.
No casualties were reported as of filing this report around 2:00am.
When the fire was burning their shanties, people were seen attempting to take their belongings to safety.
Lucky Begum, who used to live in a shanty with her husband, two children and her mother-in-law, ran to safety with other family members as soon as she came to know about the fire.
"We ran amid fire and fume with only two pillows and a blanket. We could not take anything else," Lucky told The Daily Star.
Panic gripped many children in the slum as they were asleep when the fire broke out.
Fire officials said they faced shortage of water as there was no local source of water in the slum. They carried water from water tanks of nearby buildings.