At least 19 people killed, say officials, including six who jumped from 22-floor building

Desperate workers have jumped to their deaths as a huge fire tore through a Dhaka office block, killing at least 19 people and trapping others in the latest major inferno to hit the Bangladesh capital.

Rescue workers warned the death toll could rise sharply as fire fighters recovered charred bodies from the complex where an unknown number of office workers were engulfed by intense smoke and flames.

At least six people died after leaping from the 22-floor building while another appeared to have suffered fatal burns, officials said. Emergency services said at least 65 people were being treated in hospitals. There was no official word on how many people could be trapped inside.

The fire ignited just after noon on Thursday and spread quickly throughout the building in the upmarket Banani commercial district. People could be seen screaming for help as hundreds of panicked onlookers crowded the streets below.

Some workers slid down a television cable on the side of the building. Others grabbed ropes lowered by emergency service helicopters which pulled them out of the blaze. More than 100 ambulances were parked in the streets around the building amid fears the death toll could steeply rise.

A video posted on Facebook from inside the block showed an office shrouded in smoke with workers holding cloths to their mouths. “Please send a ladder as soon as possible or we will all choke from this smoke,” a woman’s voice said in the footage.

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