Bashundhara City (Bengali: বসুন্ধরা সিটি) is a shopping mall in Dhaka, and the second largest shopping mall in Bangladesh with a gross leasable area of 191,200 square feet (18,000 m2). Opened to the public on 6 August 2004, the mall located in Panthapath, near Kawran Bazar. Bashundhara City is 19 stories tall, of which 8 are used for the mall and the remainder as the corporate headquarters of the Bashundhara Group.
The mall has space for 2,325 retail stores and cafeterias and has a large underground gymnasium, a multiplex cinema, a top-floor food court, an ice skating rink, and a theme park. The fully air-conditioned shopping mall with rooftop gardens is considered a modern symbol of the emerging city of Dhaka. Bashundhara City is one of the largest shopping malls in South Asia: up to 50,000 people visit daily.
On 13 March 2009, the top floors of the Bashundhara City complex caught on fire. The blaze started around 1:30 pm, after Friday prayers, on one of the top floors. Most of the offices were empty, as Friday is the first day of the weekend in Bangladesh. A security guard died as he jumped off the top of the building to escape the fire. Seventeen others were injured. The chief security officer of the building was rescued from the roof top by a Bangladesh Air Force Bell-212 helicopter.
Later on the same day, reports stated the death of three more people – found in an elevator by a group of Fire Fighters. Fifty people were injured – most of them treated for smoke inhalation. The fire took six hours to be brought under control due to the summer winds. It attracted thousands of onlookers outside the complex from Panthapath to Hatirpool, causing heavy traffic.
Minister of Home Affairs Tanjim Ahmad Sohel ordered a three-member committee to review the incident. He proclaimed the damaged was caused because of the lack of fire-protection equipment during the time of the incident. The city mayor, Sadeque Hossain Khoka, ordered all the fire services in the capital to the scene with 15 fire trucks, and ordered the army personnel for their assistance.
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The fire was extinguished after nearly 10 hours. Most of the victims who died were employees; and most of the shoppers were unharmed. The mall was closed for two days and was once again opened to the public on 16 March. According to the mall authorities, damages reached Tk2 billion (US$29m).
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