A similar blaze in 2010 in an old Dhaka building, which was also used as a chemical warehouse, killed more than 120 people in one of the worst fire-related disasters in Dhaka.
Another control room official, Russel Shikder, said 81 bodies had been recovered.
But the most serious threat come from the fact that residential buildings are used for commercial purposes, with ground floors serving as chemical and gas cylinder warehouses.
Another fire official told reporters the blaze was under control but was not extinguished despite the efforts of more than 200 firefighters.
"It is unclear whether anyone who lived on the floors above (the place where the fire broke out) is alive", said Shamim Harun ur Rashid, a local police official.
A fast-moving fire swept through a historic district of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, killing at least 78 people, officials say.
UNSTOPPABLE: Firefighters battled flames for five hours in the capital Dhaka (Pic: REUTERS) TRAPPED: Scores of people were unable to leave their homes as the flames spread (Pic: REUTERS) DIFFICULTIES: Fire crews were unable to get enough water to douse the flames (Pic: REUTERS) "It spread so quickly that people could not escape".
Locals and firefighters gather around buildings that caught fire late Wednesday in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019.
The Chawkbazar area is crammed with buildings separated by narrow alleys. "They are not really abiding by the government's rules".
The fire services director, Major AKM Shakil Newaz, said many were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
A centuries-old section of Bangladesh's capital was struck by a fire that started Wednesday night, leaving at least 81 dead and an entire street gutted.
The officials earlier said 37 fire fighting units were moved to the scene but narrow lanes made it hard for fire engines to reach the spot forcing the fire fighters to use long hose pipes to set off the blaze.
The Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,100 workers and a fire in a garment factory in 2012 killed 112 people.
The injured, at least 45 people, were immediately rushed to hospital, some in very critical condition.
About 50 people, including children, were also injured and admitted to nearby hospitals, Al Jazeera reported.
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