A massive fire ripped through a slum on Wednesday in Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka, leaving thousands of people homeless.

Hundreds of shanties were destroyed in the Rupnagar slum in the city’s Mirpur area, witnesses said.

As many as 150 firefighters scrambled to get access to enough water and battled for three hours to bring the flames under control, said fire service official Zillur Rahman.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Video footage showed heavy plumes of smoke billowing all around the congested slum area.

Lax regulations and poor enforcement have often been blamed for large fires in the South Asian nation that have killed hundreds of people in recent years.

At least 25 people were killed in March last year when fire broke out in a 22-storey commercial building in Dhaka’s upscale area of Banani.

In February last year, an inferno in a centuries-old neighbourhood of Dhaka killed 71 people and injured dozens.