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Deadly fire engulfs office tower in Dhaka, killing at least 19 people

Firefighters work to douse a fire in a the office building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A rescue operation has been launched to save people trapped in the blaze.

At least 19 people were killed and 74 injured after a fire engulfed a 22-story building in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka.

Firefighters battled to save people trapped by Thursday’s blaze as it ripped through the FR Tower in the Banani commercial district.

One of the dead was confirmed to be a Sri Lankan national, Dhaka Fire Department spokesperson Shajahan Sikder told CNN.

The injured, who include four firefighters, were being treated at five hospitals around the city.

Late on Thursday, Sikder said the fire was “put out completely” but rescue teams were still searching the building for any further victims or anyone still trapped.

Thick clouds of smoke billowed from the building as emergency crews struggled to douse the flames. Dramatic video footage showed firefighters rescuing people using cranes as huge crowds gathered outside.

It was not known how many people were trapped inside the tower, Sikder said.

The Dhaka Fire Department said 21 firetrucks and more than 100 firefighters were at the scene. Lines of ambulances were waiting to take the rescued to hospitals.

Bangladesh has a history of fatal building fires, especially in factories where safety and structural standards have long been inadequate.

In February, at least 67 people were killed and 40 injured when a fire tore through apartment buildings and chemical warehouses in Dhaka’s Chawkbazar area.

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