49 killed in Bangladesh container depot blast  

49 killed in Bangladesh container depot blast  

At least 49 people have been confirmed dead in Saturday’s chemical laden container blast in a depot at Chittagong, Bangladesh while several others have been injured. Twelve of the 49 killed in the blast were fire fighters. 

The blast, which burnt over a thousand loaded boxes reportedly caused an estimated financial loss of nearly US$100 million. 

It took more than 24 hours to bring the devastating fire under control, blaming the presence of dozens of hydrogen peroxide laden containers behind the delay, at the depot namely BM container depot, located at 25 kilometres away from the port city of Chittagong.

Earlier on Sunday morning, the military was called in to help douse the fire alongside special expert team of fire fighters from Dhaka, but their efforts yielded little fruit. Twenty-five units of fire fighters from across the Chittagong region worked to bring fire under control.

Army personnel have built dam to prevent leakage of chemical contaminated water to the Bay of Bengal from the depot area.

Chittagong civil surgeon Ilias Chowdhury said 49 people died so far from the fire incident while hundreds are getting treatment in various hospitals with severe burn injuries. Some seriously burnt people were flown to Dhaka for better treatment as they were in critical position.

Fire fighters are expecting more bodies from the depot area once the fire is doused finally. Some bodies were found fully burnt and only 17 could be identified so far.

From Sunday afternoon, the fire fighters were seen removing undamaged containers from the depot to a safer place. 

The Secretary General, Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association, Ruhul Amin Sikder, said there were some 1,300 laden containers in the depot at the time of fire of which 800 were carrying export goods and 500 import goods.

He said majority of the containers were burnt in the incident causing financial loss of at least US$100 million.

Sikder said majority of the burnt containers were carrying export goods, which were scheduled to be shipped in a day or two.

He said a huge number of empty containers were also burnt to ashes, as it took time to bring the inferno under control. 

Vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Rakibul Alam Chowdhury said the financial loss from the burning of containers may be above US$100 million.

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