A fire vehicle was vandalised by agitated people as it was allegedly late to reach the spot and douse the fire
Locals and fire service officials came up with contradictory statements about the latter's efforts to put out the massive Rupnagar slum fire that burned down around 5,000 houses yesterday.
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 house could not be saved? Had the houses been saved from the fire, we would have been convinced that they worked," said a local named Sirajul Islam.
Fire service officials denied they made any delay to reach the accident spot.
"Fire-fighters reached the spot within only 12 minutes of the fire eruption," said Lt Colonel Zillur Rahman, director (operations) at the government organisation.
Twenty-five fire units brought the blaze under control after their efforts for three and a half hours, he said, expressing relief that there was no casualty in the incident.
The fire service is now investigating the incident to find out the reason behind it.
Meanwhile, agitated people vandalised a fire vehicle when a unit of fire-fighters 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 houses were burnt by that time.
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]."
A fire broke out at Shialbari slum of Rupnagar area in Mirpur at around 9:45am, burning down around 5,000 houses to ashes.