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Ctg depot fire death toll rises to 49

The death toll from the devastating fire that broke out at a private container depot at Sitakunda in Chattogram has risen to 49.

The deceased include 9 firefighters.

The Fire Service officials in Chattogram said the list of death might be longer.

More than 200 people with multiple burn injuries throughout their bodies have been undergoing treatment at Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) and other clinics in the port city.

The fire broke out at the BM Inland Container Depot, a Dutch-Bangla joint venture, at Sonaichhari under Sitakunda in Chattogram at about 9:00pm on Saturday, leaving 49 dead and more than 200 injured. Though 20 hours have already passed, the fire is yet to be doused completely.

There were 200 workers when the fire broke out at the depot, police said.

The fire raged the private shipping container depot due to the constant explosions of hundreds of drums containing huge quantity of inflammable chemicals.

Meanwhile, army have joined the fire service to douse the blaze, but the fire cannot be brought under control due to the presence of high inflammable chemicals inside the container depot.

The rescuers said it couldn’t be known how much chemicals were there due to lack of cooperation of the depot management.

Ashraful Karim, additional police super of Sitakunda Circle, said the death toll from the devastating fire has risen to 49. Efforts are going on to bring the fire under complete control.

Local administration sources said that critically injured 10 patients are being shifted to Dhaka by an Army helicopter. They will be admitted to Sheikh Hasina Burn Institute for treatment as more than 80 per cent of their bodies have been burnt.

As the inferno couldn’t be brought under total control in long 20 hours, 24 fire fighting teams are working relentlessly to douse the fire. Bangladesh Army, Rover Scouts and Red Crescent members are working with Fire Service men to bring the blaze under control.

Mujibur Rahman, director of BM Container Depot, said the actual reason behind the fire could not be known yet as those involved in depot management, are receiving treatment at different hospitals with injuries.

Of the injured, 130 people were admitted to Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH). Fifty-two are receiving treatment at the burn unit of the hospital.

Police, Fire Service and local sources said the blaze spread from one container to another. There was a huge explosion due to the presence of chemicals in a container. The blast shook the area at least four kilometers from the scene. The window glass of nearby houses broke down.

Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Ashraf Uddin said more than 200 injured and burnt people are undergoing treatment in different hospitals.

The divisional commissioner said that the relatives of the deceased are being given Tk 50,000 while Tk 20,000 is being given to the families of the injured.

Of the dead 12 were identified as fire man Moniruzzaman, 32, Mominul Huque, Mohiuddin, Habibur Rahman, Rabiul Alam, Tofael Islam, Faruk Jomadar, Afzal Hossain, Md Sumon, Md Ibrahim, Harun-ar-Rashid and Md Nayan.

Chattogram Civil Surgeon Dr Mohammad Ilyas Chowdhury urged the port city’s doctors to come forward to serve the injured.

Fire Service and Civil Defence Director General Mainuddin said 25 units of the fire service in Chattogram, Khagrachhari, Cumilla and Feni are working to douse the fire.

“I found hydrogen peroxide written on some of the drums at the container depot. A team of experts from the army has arrived. We couldn’t locate the owners. We don’t know about the placements of the various types of containers.”

The privately-run BM Container Depot had around 4,300 containers and some of them contained different chemicals. Those chemicals caused repeated blasts and spread toxic smoke as the fire spread.

A seven-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident.