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At least 40 dead in Bangladesh fire

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DHAKA (Reuters) - At least 40 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Thursday, the Fire Service said.

The rescue operation and search for bodies was continuing and unconfirmed reports broadcast by Bangladesh television stations said the final death toll could rise as high as 100.

“The death toll is now 40 and the figure may rise and we are searching for more victims,” a firefighter told Reuters.

The fire was started by an explosion in an electrical transformer at 10.30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. EDT), and then spread to residential and commercial buildings in an old part of Dhaka, witnesses said.

Dead and injured were rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where sobbing relatives looked for loved ones.

Off-duty medical staff were called in to help as the hospital struggled to cope with the numbers of casualties.

Reporting by Nizam Ahmed and Anis Ahmed; editing by Andrew Roche