Bangladesh: DC fire kills three and takes millions offline

Oct 27, 2023 | Posted by Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji

A fire that broke out on the 13th floor of the 14-story Khawaja Tower in the Mohakali district of the Bangladesh capital yesterday killed three people and severely disrupted the Internet in Bangladesh. The fire broke out at 16:58, and the Dhaka fire department arrived at the location at 17:07 and had the situation under control by 19:30. 

Reports from Dhaka Tribune note that about 40% of the country’s broadband Internet users experienced outages during the fire. Some 20% of its million mobile Internet had trouble with data and voice services.

The building housed several Internet gateways, exchanges, and data centers. The fire reportedly destroyed multiple International Internet Gateways and data centers. The fire service criticized the lack of fire precautions within the building as they reported the deaths of  Rafiqul Islam, 63, Aklima Rahman, 33, and Hasna Hena, 27. Ten people were also injured. 

Fire Service and Civil Defence chief Brigadier General Md Main Uddin told the Dhaka Tribune, “There was no [fire] safety plan at Khawaja Tower in Mohakhali. We found some fire extinguishers on different floors, and they were working. But the fire spread due to the presence of a large amount of flammable materials.”

Emdadul Haque, President of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), told the United News of Bangladesh, “It will take at least a week to restore Internet speed to normal due to the amount of damage caused by the Khawaja Tower fire incident. And if the devices burn, it may take longer.”

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