Firefighters worked for a second day on Sunday (5, June) to extinguish a massive blaze that killed at least 49 people at a container depot in southeast Bangladesh, the latest incident highlighting the country’s poor industrial safety track record.
The fire that also injured more than 200 broke out at the shipping container facility on Saturday night at Sitakunda, 40km from the port city of Chittagong, triggering a huge blast and multiple container explosions, officials said.
Chemical-filled containers were still exploding on Sunday as firefighters attempted to douse the fire and officials said the army had joined the mission. Drone footage showed thick columns of smoke and rows of burnt-out containers.
Explosions had shaken the neighbourhood and shattered windows in nearby buildings, local residents said.
The death toll could rise as some of the injured are in a critical condition and rescue operations are still continuing, said Chittagong civil surgeon Mohammed Elias Hossain. The injured included firefighters and policemen, he said.
He said all doctors in the district had been called in to help tackle the situation, while social media was flooded with appeals for emergency blood donations.
Five firefighters had died and at least 50 others, including 10 policemen, were injured, he added.
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