Bangladesh Fire Races Through Buildings, Kills 117

"An electrical explosion plunged a neighborhood of Bangladesh's capital in darkness and ignited a shop of flammable chemicals, creating a massive inferno that killed at least 117 — including 15 members of a wedding party — and injured more than 100 others. The country's worst fire in recent memory began Thursday night in the narrow alleys of the old section of Dhaka, crammed with new additions to decades-old buildings, when an electrical transformer exploded soon after a rainstorm swept the city, police officer Abul Kalam said. ""There were screams, shouts for help and total chaos,"" Kalam said. Most of the dead were trapped in two or three residential buildings, said government administrator Mohibul Haque. He said the death toll could rise because some were still feared trapped in the rubble. Mohammad Gulzar was serving beverages to dozens of guests who had just arrived in his small apartment for his daughter's wedding reception when they were jolted by a loud blast.

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