A fire burnt down over a dozen shops in New Rajdhahi Supermarket in the capital’s Tikatuli yesterday.
The fire began at a mattress store on the first floor of the two-storey market around 5:15pm, officials said.
Twenty-five fire engines were deployed to douse the fire.
Director General of the Fire Service and Civil Defence Brig Gen Sajjad Hossain said 14-15 shops were burnt down and 2-3 other shops were partially damaged. The fire was extinguished around 6:45pm.
However, several shop-owners and witnesses claimed that around 50-60 shops on the first floor had been gutted.
A committee will be formed to find the cause of the fire and how much damage had been done, the DG told reporters at the scene.
The market, built with corrugated-iron sheets, was listed as a risky establishment and fire officials conducted a fire drill around a month ago, the DG said.
He added that they had asked the market authorities to improve safety in two months.
The market houses around 170 stores.
Russell, a shopkeeper at a mattress store, claimed that sparks from a welding work being done close to his store caused curtains and mattresses in his store to ignite.
He claimed that they used fire extinguishers but could not supress the fire. People then ran out of the market. At least five other witnesses gave similar accounts.
Three people suffered minor injuries and took treatment at hospitals.
Power connection to the area was cut and nearby roads were closed to traffic until the fire was put out.
Babul, owner of Faisal Bedding Store on the first floor, said he just bought blankets worth Tk 10 lakh for sale in winter.
“Everything has been gutted,” Babul said, adding that he had lost goods worth Tk 30 lakh in total.