Bangladesh: Huge blast at depot kills at least 40, hundreds injured

The fire at the depot in Sitakunda area has left about 450 people injured and authorities fear the death toll may climb

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, June 05, 2022, 03:22 PM IST
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Many of the injured are reported to be in a critical condition with burns covering 60% to 90% of their bodies | AFP

At least 40 people have died after a huge fire broke out at a shipping container depot in Bangladesh's Chittagong last night.

The fire at the depot in Sitakunda area has left about 450 people injured and authorities fear the death toll may climb.

"So far 35 dead bodies reached the morgue here," a police officer stationed at the state-run Chattagram Medical College Hospital (CMCH) was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. The toll has since been revised upward to 40.

The cause of the fire is not known, but it is thought that chemicals were stored in some of the containers.

Hospitals in the area are overwhelmed and have appealed for blood donations.

Many of the injured are reported to be in a critical condition with burns covering 60% to 90% of their bodies.

"The explosion just threw me some 10 metres from where I was standing. My hands and legs are burnt," lorry driver Tofael Ahmed told AFP news agency.

Another volunteer told the agency he had seen more bodies inside the area affected by the fire.

Several firefighters are among the killed and injured.

The depot contained millions of dollars of garments waiting to be exported to Western retailers, according to a regional government official. Bangladesh is a major supplier of clothing to the West.

Fire service officials said they suspect it may have originated from a container of hydrogen peroxide and spread quickly to other containers.

In 2020, three people were killed after an oil tank exploded at a container depot in Chittagong`s Patenga area.

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