General

Container depot fire under control after 60 hours: Army

The deadly fire at BM Container Depot at Sitakunda was brought under control on Tuesday morning after over 60 hours, said the Army.

"We have been able to control the flames and the area is out of danger now,’ commanding officer of the 18th Brigade of the 24th Infantry Division Lt Col Ariful Islam told journalists around 9 am outside the depot.

He said there is still smoke coming out in the depot mainly from containers full of clothes. Water used to douse the fire is causing the smoke, he said.

“An expert team of Bangladesh Armed Forces is examining the area for the presence of any more hazardous substances. After receiving a final report from them we will be assured that there is no possibility of further danger, the commander said.

Meanwhile at 12 pm parts of bodies were recovered from the debris, said Anisur Rahman, Deputy Assistant Director of Agrabad Fire Station.

He said,” We are not counting the body parts as new bodies as they could be from earlier victims.”

“We are still trying to douse the fire completely with caution as many of the containers are still burning and we are not sure which one exactly contains hazardous chemicals,” he added.

The district administration on Monday revised the death toll from Sitakunda container depot fire to 41 down from the earlier confirmed figure of 50.

Brig. General Shamim Ahsan, director of Chattogram Medical College and Hospital said “We have got 41 bodies and the authorities concerned have conducted the autopsy of 18 on Sunday.”

The identities of 25 people were confirmed, he said adding nine of them were firefighters. So far, 21 bodies have been handed over to the families.

A team of Bangladesh Army along with Bangladesh Navy and Fire Service are still working to prevent the spread of chemicals in the area.

According to fire service sources, the container depot contained a large quantity of chemicals called 'hydrogen peroxide'. Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound and it acts like explosives at high temperature.

The fire broke out at the BM Container Depot on Saturday at Sonachhari in Sitakunda upazila. Explosions also occurred during the fire.

Over 200 people suffered injuries.

Around 130 people are undergoing treatment at the burn unit of CMCH, said Anisur Rahman, deputy director of Fire Service and Civil Defense.

Source: United News of Bangladesh