Firefighters mobilise to tackle huge Bangladesh clothing market blaze

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Firefighters mobilise to tackle huge Bangladesh clothing market blaze

Hundreds of firefighters have been mobilised in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, to fight a huge fire that raged through a popular clothing market and blanketed the city's oldest neighbourhoods in black smoke.

There have been no reported casualties from the Tuesday morning blaze. Shop owners and fire officials told reporters that the Bongo Bazar market and three adjacent commercial precincts had been almost completely gutted.

Fire department spokesman Rakibul Islam told AFP that some 600 firefighters are working to bring the fire under control, adding that the blaze began around dawn.

A military spokesman said in a statement that an air force helicopter had joined the firefighting effort.

A helicopter footage showed hundreds of people watching the fire from a nearby overpass.

The market is a popular destination for cut-price western fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, selling clothes that were produced in the city's garment factories but didn't meet export standards.

Distraught shop owners told reporters the blaze had left them detitute ahead of Eid, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan and the country's biggest religious celebration.

One business owner said that they borrowed 1.5 m taka $14,100 to buy Eid clothing.