A fire erupted from the wreckage of a collapsed building in Bangladesh on Sunday, killing what was thought to be the last survivor. The survivor, a woman, fought for 110 hours before the blaze broke out as rescuers worked to free her.
Along with killing the woman, the fire also injured three firefighters. Following the news of the woman’s death, firefighters were seen weeping on live television.
The woman, a widowed mother of an 18-month-old, was named Shahnaz. Her fight to survive became a symbol of hope for the country in the wake of its worst factory accident in history. Ahmed Ali explained of the fire:
“The fire broke out as we were cutting a beam to bring out what we believe was the last remaining survivor from the collapsed building. We managed to douse it, but as we came back we saw her dead.”
Ali added of the woman, who fought hard to stay alive, “She was a brave lady and fought until the end. We worked for 10-11 hours today just to try to bring her out alive. We took the challenge but we lost.”
The blaze was put out in a matter of minutes. After the failed rescue of the woman, who was believed to be the last survivor of the Bangladesh building collapse, the rescue operation turned to one of recovery. Workers were diffing manually to avoid harming survivors. However, they have now switched to earth-moving equipment to lift heavy slabs of concrete and clean up debris.
As they work, more bodies are expected to be found. The fire broke out right after authorities announced the arrest of the building’s owner, property tycoon Sohel Rana. Rana was discovered attempting to cross into India and was flown back to Dhaka. He will face charges over the building’s collapse, which killed at least 381 people.
As his arrest was announced, garment workers and relatives of those still missing cheered in the streets. They then took up a call, yelling, “Hang Rana, Hang the killer!” Along with the building’s owner, police have arrested four garment factory owners. About 2,5o0 people have been rescued from the collapsed building so far. Some had to undergo amputations in order to get free of the pancaked concrete slabs.
Officials announced on Saturday that another building owned by Rana was sealed off after large cracks appeared in its pillars. Meanwhile, the four factory bosses will face a maximum of five years in jail for charges of “causing death due to negligence.” They have been accused of forcing the workers to show up on Wednesday, despite visible cracks on the exterior of the building.
[Image via Twitter]