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Shoppers feared trapped by Bangladesh mall fire

  • Story Highlights
  • Four killed in blaze at Bangladesh shopping mall
  • Search for survivors suspended
  • Fire is extinguished but many people could be trapped, police say
  • Thousands of shoppers fled crowded high-rise mall
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(CNN) -- Bangladeshi authorities have suspended until Saturday morning efforts to find people who may have been trapped inside a massive shopping complex that caught fire Friday afternoon, a police official said.

The fire engfuled the top of the Bashundhara City shopping mall in Dhaka.

The fire engfuled the top of the Bashundhara City shopping mall in Dhaka.

At least four people are known to have died in the fire, said Dhaka police Commissioner Mahabubor Rahman.

The fire has been put out, he said, but it was unclear how many people remained inside the 22-story complex.

"A lot of (people) could be (trapped) there," Rahman said, speaking by phone from Dhaka. Many people go to shopping areas on Friday, which is a day off in Bangladesh.

Thousands of shoppers rushed out of the crowded Bashundhara City shopping complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital city, when the fire broke out on the top floors of the building. Video Watch footage of fire »

The casualties, which include at least 20 wounded, are a result of both the fire and the rush to leave the building, a Shamarita hospital official said.

An estimated 10,000 people were in the building when the fire began about 1:45 p.m. (3:45 a.m. ET), Rahman said. Two people were evacuated by helicopter, including one who was injured, Rahman said.

Flames and plumes of smoke emanated from the building's upper levels, where the food court is located.


Some firefighting units initially had trouble reaching the blaze because their ladders did not go past the 13th floor, according to a local newspaper, The Daily Star. Fire seen from apartment rooftop

More than 25,000 people visit the shopping complex every day, according to developers. It opened five years ago and developers say it is the largest shopping mall in South Asia and the 12th largest in the world.

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh and Saeed Ahmed contributed to this report.

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