Khushi Akhter, 33, has been living with her family at Rupnagar slum in the capital's Mirpur area since 2010.
She has a family of five, including her husband and three children – Rashed (14), Akash (11), and Sumi (3).
As Khushi was finding it hard to meet her family expenses with the limited earnings of her rickshaw-puller husband, she started to work as a domestic aide more than three years ago in the hope of a better life.
Despite all hardships, the couple who are together for 15 years tried to fulfil every dream of their children.
But, the joy of the family was burnt to ashes yesterday after a massive fire had galloped their shanty, and everything they had there.
Not only Khushi's family but also more than 2,000 families, losing everything in the fire at the "Shialbari" part of the Rupnagar slum on the day, have become worried about their future.
They do not know where they will go now.
While talking to The Business Standard, Khushi said she heard about the fire while she was working at a house in Mirpur.
"Hearing the news, I ran to the slum and saw my daughter Sumi sleeping in the shanty amid the fire.
"Luckily, I could get her out of the shanty but could not save any of my belongings," she said, breaking down in tears.
According to slum dwellers, the fire broke out at around 9:45am on Wednesday, burning down around 5,000 houses to ashes.
After three and a half hours of relentless effort, 25 firefighting units could bring the blaze under control, confirmed Rasel Sikder, duty officer at the control room of Fire Service and Civil Defence Headquarters.
This was for the third time in the last seven months that the slum area in Mirpur had caught fire.
Before the latest incident, another huge fire broke out in the "Chalantika" part of the slum on January 24 this year. According to locals, more than 100 shanties were gutted in that fire.
Earlier, on August 16 last year, another huge fire consumed over 1,000 shanties in the slum.
As claimed by fire service officials, gas cylinders were the reason behind the fire on the previous two occasions.
However, the origin of the fire this time around and the extent of the damage it has caused is yet to be confirmed.
The slum is situated near Bangladesh University of Business and Technology. The place is allocated for flats for low- and middle-income people under the project of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works.
Slum-dwellers claimed the repeated fire incidents are a part of a conspiracy to evacuate them to make way for the implementation of the project.
Locals, fire service at odds
Meanwhile, locals and fire service officials came up with contradictory statements about the latter's efforts to put out the fire.
Locals claimed a fire vehicle reached the spot one hour after the fire broke out there. Even then, it could not start working immediately as its machine was damaged.
"What did the fire service do when a single shack could not be saved? Had they been saved from the fire, we would have been convinced that the firefighters worked really," said a local named Sirajul Islam.
Fire service officials denied they made any delay to reach the accident spot.
"Firemen reached the spot within only 12 minutes of the fire eruption," said Lt Colonel Zillur Rahman, director (operations) at the government organisation.
In the meantime, agitated people vandalised a fire vehicle when a unit of firefighters was going to the spot.
More than one hundred locals threw bricks and stones at the vehicle, which left it quite damaged. Later, the vehicle went back.
The people complained that they repeatedly called the fire service to go to douse the fire but nobody responded to their requests. Then, they began drenching the fire on their own but at least 50 shanties were already burnt down.
About one hour later, a fire vehicle came to the spot. Agitated people then vandalised it, they claimed.
However, Mostak Ahmed, deputy commissioner of Mirpur Zone of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said, "No attack took place [at the place]."