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Bangladesh container depot fire kills 49, injures hundreds

The fire broke out on Saturday evening at the BM container depot in Sitakunda, Chittagong district, according to the official Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) news agency.

Among the dead are at least nine firefighters who had been deployed to douse the flames, BSS reported. Two firefighters were still missing on Sunday evening.

Firefighters were still working to put out the blaze on Sunday afternoon as containers full of chemicals including hydrogen peroxide or sulfur continued to burst, Reuters reported, citing fire department officials .

Although the cause of the fire remains unknown, fire department officials said it may have originated from a container of hydrogen peroxide and spread to other containers.

“It really gets more difficult as toxic fumes fill the area,” Newton Das, a fire service official, told Reuters.

Local residents told the agency that the initial blast caused an earthquake in the neighborhood and subsequently shattered some of the windows in local infrastructure.

Bangladesh container depot fire kills 49, injures hundreds

Depot authorities said they would provide 10 lakh Bangladeshi taka (about $11,200) in compensation to each family of workers who died in the fire, BSS said.

They also promised to pay six Bangladeshi lakh taka (approximately $6,700) to each seriously injured worker who lost body parts in the fire and four Bangladeshi lakh taka (approximately $4,500) to other injured workers.

The company formed a five-member Board of Inquiry to investigate the fatal incident, the state news agency reported.

The incident is the latest in a series of fatal industrial accidents over several years in the South Asian nation.

In December, at least 38 people were killed after a fire destroyed a speedboat on the Sugandha River in southern Jhalakathi district.
A few months earlier, at least 52 people died and around 50 others were injured when a huge fire swept through a juice factory in Rupganj, east of the capital Dhaka.

With additional information from Reuters.


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