On Saturday night at 9 p.m. a fire broke out at BM Container Depot in the Kadamrasul region of Sitakunda Upazila in Chittagong, and as Fire Service units worked to put it out, an explosion occurred, and the fire spread, officials said on Sunday. “Around 19 firefighting units are working to douse the blaze,” says Chittagong Fire Service and Civil Defence Assistant Director Md Faruk Hossain Sikdar.
“Six ambulances are also available on the spot.” According to a police official stationed at the state-run Chattagram Medical College Hospital, 35 bodies have arrived at the mortuary so far (CMCH).The majority of the fire injured patients were apparently treated at CMCH, but others, including hundreds of firefighters, were treated in a military hospital and some private facilities.
The Dhaka Tribune quoted Istakul Islam, chief of the Health and Service Department at Red Crescent Youth Chittagong, as saying, “Over 450 persons have been hurt in this incident, of which at least 350 are at CMCH.”
He said that the death toll at other hospitals could be higher. Meanwhile, Chattogram Divisional Commissioner (DC) Ashraf Uddin stated that the DC office is providing USD 560 (Taka 50,000) to the families of the deceased. Meanwhile, the Daily Star claimed that USD 224 (Taka 20,000) has been provided to the injured’s families. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her condolences for the loss of life and ordered the mobilisation of all resources for the salvage operation.
Officials constituted a high-powered investigating group and demanded that it provide its findings within three days. According to CMCH Police Outpost Sub-Inspector (SI) Nurul Alam, the container depot was initially suspected of catching fire due to chemicals.
However, about 11:45 p.m., a big explosion occurred, and the fire moved from one container to another due to chemicals in one of the containers, according to the report. A witness informed news agency PTI over the phone that the depot was mostly empty when the fire broke out and that firefighters, police officers, and other rescuers raced to the scene after the fire broke out and the explosion of containers after containers laden with chemicals killed them.
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According to reports, the explosion shook the neighbourhood and smashed the windows of surrounding homes. According to media sources, including television footage, the bomb smashed the windows of numerous neighbouring buildings and was felt as far as 4 kilometres away, causing fear.
Several types of chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, were stored in containers at the depot, and the chemicals clearly sparked the fire, according to fire service chief Brigadier General Mohammad Mainuddin, who spoke to reporters at the scene in the Sitakunda neighbourhood on the outskirts of the port city. The cause of the fire, according to Mujibur Rahman, director of the BM Container Depot, is unknown.
“However, I believe the fire originated in the container.” “Arrangements are being made to guarantee that those who have been hurt receive the best possible care. The treatment will be completely covered by us. Those who were hurt in the accident would be compensated to the full extent of the law “According to The Daily Star, Rahman said.
“We will also be liable for the families of all of the victims,” he added. Since May 2011, the BM Container Depot has been a working inland container terminal. The private container depot was built on 21 acres of land near the coastlines of the Bay of Bengal in Chattagram’s Sitakunda neighborhood.
Industrial disasters have a long history in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has a long history of industrial disasters, such as factories catching fire and trapping employees inside.
Over the years, monitoring groups have blamed deadly incidents on corruption and lax enforcement. In recent years, global firms that employ tens of thousands of low-paid workers in Bangladesh have been chastised for failing to improve factory conditions.
Safety standards in the country’s enormous garment industry, which employs approximately 4 million people, have improved dramatically as a result of massive reforms, but experts warn that accidents could still occur if other sectors do not follow suit. Around 117 workers were killed in a textile factory in Dhaka in 2012 when they were trapped behind barred exits.
The Rana Plaza garment factory outside of Dhaka collapsed the next year, killing over 1,100 workers and causing the country’s greatest industrial tragedy. A fire in the oldest section of Dhaka killed at least 67 people in 2019, when it rushed through a 400-year-old district crammed with residences, stores, and warehouses. In 2010, another fire in Old Dhaka killed at least 123 persons in a residence that was illegally storing chemicals.