Bangladesh Fire Kills at Least 49

Victims of depot blaze include firefighters, and more than 100 people are injured
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 5, 2022 10:35 AM CDT
Depot Fire Kills Dozens in Bangladesh
Firefighters look on Sunday after a fire broke out at the BM Inland Container Depot in Chittagong, Bangladesh.   (AP Photo)

A massive fire at a container depot near a port city in southeastern Bangladesh killed at least 49 people, including nine firefighters, and injured more than 100 others, officials and local media reported Sunday, as efforts to extinguish the blaze continued into a second night. The inferno at the BM Inland Container Depot, a Dutch-Bangladesh joint venture, broke out around midnight Saturday after explosions in a container full of chemicals. The cause of the fire could not be immediately determined, the AP reports. The depot is located near country's main Chittagong Seaport, 134 miles southeast of the capital, Dhaka.

At least nine firefighters were among the dead, said Brig. Gen. Main Uddin, director general of the Bangladesh fire service and civil defense. More than 10 others were being treated for burns, he added. Multiple rounds of explosions occurred after the initial blast as the fire continued to spread, Uddin said. Explosives experts from Bangladesh's military have been called in to assist the firefighters. The explosions shattered the windows of nearby buildings and were felt as far as 2½ miles away, officials and local media reports said. The death toll reached 49 by Sunday evening, according to Ekattor TV station, and the area's civil surgeon said the number could still rise.

Bangladesh has a history of industrial disasters, including factories catching fire with workers trapped inside, per the AP. In 2021, a fire at a food and beverage factory outside Dhaka killed at least 52 people, many of whom were trapped inside by an illegally locked door. Monitoring groups have blamed corruption and lax enforcement. Global brands, which employ tens of thousands of low-paid workers in Bangladesh, have come under fire to improve factory conditions. In the country's huge garment industry, which employs about 4 million people, safety conditions have improved significantly after massive changes, but experts say accidents could still occur if other sectors do not make similar changes.

(More Bangladesh stories.)

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