Bangladesh container depot fire: 49 dead

A massive fire and a huge explosion recorded in an inland container depot in Bangladesh killing at least 49 people and injuring hundreds more.

Massive fire and huge explosion recorded in an inland container depot near the port city of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Unfortunately killed at least 49 people and injured hundreds more so far.

Incident

The fire broke out at BM Container Depot, a Dutch-Bangladesh joint venture company. Hence, on Saturday the 4th, nighttime, triggered multiple container explosions after a huge blast at the site.

Cause

Most probably, the fire initiated from a container of hydrogen peroxide before swiftly spreading to other containers. According to local media, the explosion was so powerful that the noise reached several km away and shattered the windows of surrounding buildings. Even several hours after the explosion, the fire was still raging on Sunday morning.

Aftermath

The Dutch-Bangladesh JV has been operating since 2011, handling goods for export and import. Located around 40 km from the country’s main seaport. Officials said the depot contained millions of dollars of garments, awaiting export to Western retailers.

The fire has left about 450 people injured. Local media reports the death toll could rise as some of the injured are in critical condition, including police and fire service personnel. Hospitals in the area have requested blood donations.

Police and firefighters continued to work over the weekend to extinguish the blaze. Note that containers filled with chemicals continued to erupt, injuring more than 300 people.

Furthermore, the local authorities accused the Dutch-Bangladesh joint venture company of not telling firefighters about a chemical stockpile before it exploded.

“The safety plan lays out how the depot will fight and control a fire. But there was nothing… They also did not inform us about the chemicals. If they did, the casualties would have been much less.”

Purnachandra Mutsuddi, Assistant Director of the Chittagong fire station

Meanwhile, the depot’s authorities said they would provide around $11,200 in compensation to each family of the workers who died in the fire, according to the state-run news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), and also promised to pay between $4,500 and $6,700 to other injured workers.

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