Drone footage shows smoke rising from the scene on June 5, 2022, after a massive fire broke out at Sitakunda’s inland container depot near the port city of Chittagong, Bangladesh. This still image was taken from the distribution video. Distribution by Al Mahmud BS / REUTERSATTENTION EDITORS-This image is provided by a third party.Mandatory credit

Dhaka -Firefighters fought on Monday for the third day and controlled a huge fire that killed dozens of people when they caused an explosion at a container depot in Bangladesh.

The image of the drone from the BM container depot in Sitakunda, 40 km (25 miles) from the port city southeast of Chittagong, shows that a thick pillar of smoke still rises from the burned-out container about 46 hours after the flame broke out. Was shown.

Due to insufficient national records of high-profile occupational accidents, one official has identified that a container containing hydrogen peroxide may be the cause of the fire, and safety guidelines are followed on-site. Said not.

The number of confirmed deaths has been revised from 49 to 41, including at least 9 firefighters. Mohammed Elias Hossein, Chittagong’s doctor, said some of the injured were in serious condition, which could lead to more deaths.

Of the approximately 200 injured, 50 were rescue workers. According to city police officer Alauddin Talukder, 10 of them were police officers and 3 firefighters were still missing.

Fire Department Monil Hossain said the depot had clearly ignored the guidelines for the storage of chemicals. “I couldn’t find any basic fire protection … there were some fire extinguishers, nothing else,” he said.

The fire was largely extinguished, but nearby containers filled with chemicals may still be at risk of explosion.

“Our firefighters are working hard, but the presence of chemicals makes it too dangerous to work nearby,” said Anisur Rahman, chief of the port city’s fire department.

Armies have also been deployed to prevent the spread of chemicals along the canals and the coastline of the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

“Strong oxidizer”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, so fire officials said it could have originated from a container of hydrogen peroxide and could have spread rapidly from there.

Ruhul Amin Sikder, secretary general of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association (BICDA), said the facility, including the BM Container Depot, treats hydrogen peroxide on a regular basis without any problems.

“As far as our information is concerned, BM Depot followed the normal operating process in handling hydrogen peroxide,” he said. “… What we don’t understand is the magnitude of the fire and explosion we observed.”

Chemical engineer Riasat Saquif Quadir said hydrogen peroxide is “a powerful oxidizer that makes it very easy to start or maintain the combustion process.”

If the hydrogen peroxide solution evaporates on a flammable material such as clothing, “a fire can occur spontaneously without the need for a source of ignition,” he added.

The depot has about 800 containers filled with exportable items, about 85% of which were ready-made garments, Sikder said. Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporter in the world.

A privately owned joint venture between the Netherlands and Bangladesh has promised a million taka ($ 11,000) compensation to the families of each worker who died in the fire.

Loose regulations and inadequate enforcement have been blamed on the country’s industrial fire, which has killed hundreds of people in recent years.

In 2020, three people were killed after an oil tank explosion at a container depot in the Patenga area of ​​Chittagong, and a fire broke out at a food processing plant in the suburbs of the capital Dhaka last July, killing 54 people.

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