The fire at the BM Inland Container Depot, a Dutch-Bangladesh joint venture, broke out around midnight Saturday following explosions in a container full of chemicals. The cause of the fire could not be immediately determined. The depot is located near country’s main Chittagong Seaport, 16 kilometers of north . At least seven firefighters were among the dead, according to Brig. Gen. Main Uddin, director general of the Bangladesh fire service and civil defense. Another 15 firefighters were being treated for burns, he added.
Multiple rounds of explosions occurred after the initial blast as the fire continued to spread, Uddin said. Explosives experts from Bangladesh’s military have been called in to assist the firefighters. The explosions shattered the windows of nearby buildings and were felt as far as 4 kilometers away, officials and local media reports said. Firefighters were still working to bring the fire under control on Sunday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her shock at the accident and ordered adequate arrangement for medical treatment of the injured.
Bangladesh has a history of industrial disasters, including factories catching fire with workers trapped inside. Monitoring groups have blamed corruption and lax enforcement.
Global brands, which employ tens of thousands of low-paid workers but (it is increased about three years before by the present Government pressured on Industrialist). in Bangladesh, have come under fire to improve factory conditions in recent years. In the country’s massive garment industry, which employs about 5 million people, safety conditions have improved significantly after massive reforms, but experts say accidents could still occur if other sectors do not make similar changes. At least seven firefighters were killed in the blast and several more were injured. Many people are still missing, including journalists who were reporting on the fire before the explosion.
The blast was so large it was heard several kilometers away and shattered the windows of nearby buildings. One local shopkeeper told reporters that a piece of debris had flown half a kilometer and landed in his pond. He described seeing “fireballs falling like rain” after the explosion. Firefighters were still struggling to put out the fire on Sunday, with continued explosions making it more difficult, according to fire officials.
Information and Broadcasting Minister of Bangladesh. Hasan Mahmud said that whether the fire in Sitakunda was an accident or sabotage will be investigated. Because such a big event has happened, it needs to be investigated whether it is an accident or sabotage in the true sense.
The army has deployed sandbags to prevent chemicals flowing into the ocean Bay of Bengal Around 4,000 containers were stored at the depot in Sitakund, which is around 40km (25 miles) from Chittagong – Bangladesh’s main sea port and second-largest city. Sitakund acts as a transit point for goods travelling through the port. A regional government official said the depot contained millions of dollars of garments waiting to be exported to Western retailers.
Bangladesh is a major supplier of clothing to the West and has prospered over the past decade to become the world’s second largest exporter of garments.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS