Bangladesh Container: The fire at the depot in the Sitakunda area has left about 450 people injured and authorities fear the death count may climb.
At least 40 people have died after a huge fire broke out at a shipping container depot in Bangladesh’s Chittagong last night, officials said today.
The fire at the depot in the Sitakunda area has left about 450 people injured and authorities fear the death count may climb.
“So far 40 dead bodies reached the morgue here,” a police officer stationed at the state-run Chattagram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) was quoted as saying by the news agency PTI.
According to police officer Nurul Alam, posted at Chittagong Medical College Hospital’s police outpost, the preliminary probe has indicated that the fire broke out due to a chemical reaction.
Local media reported that the fire spread following an explosion.
35 Killed, Over 450 Others Injured In Huge Fire At Bangladesh Container Depot
The police officer said that while the fire broke out around 9 pm and the explosion occurred around midnight. Following the blast, the fire spread rapidly.
“The death toll has risen to 49,” Elias Chowdhury, Chittagong’s chief doctor, told Al Jazeera. He added that more than 300 people have been injured in the blaze and subsequent explosions.
“The number of fatalities is expected to rise as some of the injured are in critical condition,” Chowdhury earlier told the AFP news agency.
Six firefighters are among those killed, Brig General MD Main Uddin, director-general of Fire Service and Civil Defence, told Al Jazeera.
At least 21 firefighters, who had been at the scene attempting to douse the blaze, have been injured.
Bangladesh fire: 34 killed, hundreds injured in depot blast
They were hurt during the secondary explosions.
The explosions shook the neighborhood and shattered windowpanes of nearby houses, local residents said.
“I was standing inside the depot. The explosion just threw me some 10 meters [11 yards] from where I was standing. My hands and legs are burned,” Tofael Ahmed, a truck driver, said.
The explosion was so loud that it shook residential buildings several kilometers from the depot, said Mohammad Ali, 60, who has a nearby grocery store.
The fire broke out at a container facility on Saturday night at Sitakunda, 40 km (25 miles) from the port city of Chittagong, triggering a huge blast and multiple container explosions subsequently at the site, officials said.
40 dead, over 450 wounded in massive blaze at inland container depot in Bangladesh
Firefighters were still scrambling to put out the fire on Sunday noon as chemical-filled containers were still exploding, said fire service officials.
The explosion shook the neighborhood and shattered glasses of windows of nearby buildings, local residents said.
The death toll could rise as some of the injured are in critical condition, said Chittagong civil surgeon Mohammed Elias Hossain. The injured included firefighters and policemen, he said.
He said all doctors in the district were called in to help tackle the situation while social media was flooded with appeals for emergency blood donations.
40 dead in fire at Bangladesh container depot
Five firefighters also died and at least 50 others, including 10 policemen, were injured, he added.
Hundreds of distraught relatives thronged the Chittagong Medical College and Hospital to seek missing relatives, witnesses said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze. Fire service officials said they suspect it may have originated from a container of hydrogen peroxide and spread quickly to other containers.
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