At least 45 killed in Bangladesh after fire breaks out at shopping mall

People dining out and shopping suffocated or jumped to their deaths as firefighters battled for hours to douse the flames.

A massive blaze in a six-storey shopping mall in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, has killed at least 45 people and wounded dozens.

The fire, which struck Green Cozy Cottage Shopping Mall late on Thursday, started in a biryani restaurant on the first floor, with 13 units of firefighters battling for two hours to douse the flames.

Doctors said most of the dead suffocated, with others dying as they jumped off the building. Dozens of people are being treated for burn wounds in two state-run hospitals.

Brigadier General Main Uddin, a top fire service official, said that the fire could have originated from a gas leak or stove. “It was a dangerous building with gas cylinders on every floor, even on the staircases,” he told reporters.

Relatives gathered at the hospital early on Friday to receive the bodies of the dead, with some mourning outside the emergency department. Health Minister Samanta Lal Sen told reporters that he expected the death toll to rise.