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Bangladesh: Deadly fire and explosions at container facility | News


Fire and explosions hit the container facility near the port city of Chittagong, with doctors saying the death toll could rise as some of the injured are in critical condition.

A massive fire has swept through a container depot in southeastern Bangladesh, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 170, according to officials.

The fire broke out at a container facility on Saturday night at Sitakunda, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the port city of Chittagong, triggering multiple explosions, officials said.

“The number of fatalities is expected to rise as some of the injured are in critical condition,” Chittagong’s chief doctor, Elias Chowdhury, told the AFP news agency.

Rashidul Haque, Superintendent of Police in the Chattogram district, told Al Jazeera that the death toll stood at 22 people.

Those injured included firefighters who had been at the scene attempting to douse the blaze.

They were hurt during the secondary explosions.

(Al Jazeera)

“Some 170 people were injured including at least 40 firefighters and 10 police officers. Three firefighters were also killed, ”said Abul Kalam Aza, the local police chief.

The explosions shook the neighborhood and shattered glasses of windows of nearby houses, local residents said.

Firefighters were still working to put out the fire on Sunday morning, police said.

Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chaudhury, reporting from Dhaka, said efforts were ongoing to avoid the explosion of containers containing chemical substances.

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.

About 5,000 containers are at the BM Inland Container Depot, which handles goods for export and import, according to local media.

Chaudhury said security measures at industrial facilities have improved since the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, but that chemical plants located in close proximity to towns still posed a risk for residents as well as workers.

Chittagong civil surgeon Mohammed Elias Hossain has urged all doctors in the district to help tackle the situation and called for emergency blood donations.

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