News Desk : dhakamirror.com
At least 49 people were killed and over 200 people were injured in an explosion as a fire broke out in a privately-run inland container depot at Sitakunda in Bangladesh’s southeast district of Chattogram at the night following Saturday.
Officials said that the victims in the fire at BM Container Depot included policemen and fire service personnel and the victims were rushed to different hospitals in Sitakunda and Chattogram city.
Chattogram district civil surgeon Md Elias Chowdhury said that the death toll had risen to 49 until 5:45pm on Sunday.
Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Md Ashraf Uddin said that over 200 injured people were now under treatment at different hospitals.
Of the injured ones, 164 people are now under treatment in Chattogram Medical College Hospital and 35 others are now undergoing treatment in Park View Hospital.
Fire Service and Civil Defence officials said that the deceased ones included eight of their firefighters. Besides, 15 other fire service personnel were undergoing treatment at Combined Military Hospital in Chattogram, they said.
Mohammad Alauddin, an assistant sub-inspector at Chattogram Medical College Hospital police outpost, said that all the bodies were kept at CMCH morgue.
Chattogram’s civil surgeon Elias Chowdhury said that many of the injured had their hand or leg severed.
One of the deceased, Muminul Hoque, 24, son of Faridul Alam of Chanua under Banshkhai upazila in Chattogram, was a computer operator of the BM Container Depot while another victim is Md Mohiuddin, 22, son of Mahmudur Rahman, of Napora of Banshkhali.
Ascertaining identities of other ones was under process, officials said.
Injured cops who are now undergoing treatment at CMCH are Shahidul, 50, Shohag, 24, Imrul, 28, Aung San Suchi, 24, Shohag, 22, of Industrial Police and Md Belal, Md Mizan, 22, Md Tuhin, Md Motahar of Sitakunda police station, assistant sub-inspector Mohammad Alauddin Talukder of CMCH police outpost said.
CMCH officials said that many of the injured ones were undergoing treatment at the hospital in critical condition.
They said that they had to send a number of patients who needed intensive care unit support to other hospitals after filling up all the ICU beds with critically injured patients.
The fire broke out at about 9:30pm in some containers in the depot, said officials.
Chattogram fire service and civil defense control room officials said that 25 firefighting units rushed to the spot and were working to douse the fire.
As the fire could not be brought under control until Sunday morning, Bangladesh Army personnel, responding to the call of civil administration, joined their hands to control the fire, said the Chattogram divisional commissioner.
Md Anisur Rahman, deputy director of Chattogram fire service and civil defense, told New Age that they were working to douse the fire and suspected that the fire became devastating due to chemicals kept stored in the container depot.
He said that they could bring the fire under control on Sunday morning.
Witnesses said that the fire spread to the adjacent containers within a few minutes of beginning the fire and local people gathered there to assist the fire-fighters and the police to douse the fire.
At about 10:15pm on Saturday, a container exploded with a big bang and scores of people, including the policemen and fire service officials, working there became injured, said Mohammad Shoaib who witnessed the fire and the explosion.
Officials said that the explosion was heard within a radius of about 4 kilometres from the spot and glasses of many nearby houses broke down due the huge sound.
A series of small explosions could be heard later and, since then, the fire went out of control, officials and witnesses said.
The area became heavy due to the cry of the victims and the police, fire service personnel and the vehicles that had been passing by the area began to rush the victims to different private and public hospitals in Sitakundu and Chattogram city.
CMCH received most of the victims.
The Chattogram district civil surgeon Dr Ilias Chowdhury, talking to reporters at the CMCH at about 12:45am on Sunday, urged the doctors and nurses in Chattogram city to rush to CMCH for providing treatment and care to the injured ones as the hospital’s burn unit, orthopaedic unit and emergency department had filled up with the injured victims.
He urged the volunteers to rush to the hospital to provide blood for the patients and government ambulances and private ambulance service providers to rush to the fire spot to bring the injured victims to hospitals.
+The doctors and nurses had to give treatment to the patients keeping on temporary beds on floors of the departments at CMCH.
Responding to the call of the civil surgeon, a good number of doctors, nurses and volunteers rushed to CMCH.
Red Crescent Society, Gauchhia Committee Bangladesh, Sandhani and CMCH students rushed to CMCH to work as volunteers and to provide blood.
A number of the patients received by the CMCH and the Park View Hospital had lost their hands and legs in the explosion.
BM Container Depot director Mujibur Rahman told New Age that they were yet to ascertain the cause of the fire. ‘However, we suspected that the fire originated from the container.’
‘We are arranging treatment for the injured ones and we will bear the full cost of treatment of the victims. Those who have suffered casualties in the accident will be given maximum compensation. Besides, the families of all the victims will be taken care of,’ he said.
BM Container Depot, a Dutch-Bangladeshi joint venture, was set up as an inland container depot that is operating since May 2011, one of 19 such ICDs in Chattogram.
The chairman of the depot is Dutch businessman Bert Pronk, who has other investments too in Bangladesh, while the managing director is Mustafizur Rahman of the Smart Group of Industries.
– With New Age input