Dozens killed, over 450 injured in Chittagong container depot fire


 The number of casualties could increase further

by Pimple Barua, Chittagong

At least 37 people have been killed and over 450 injured in a fire caused by an explosion at a private Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Sitakunda upazila in Chittagong.

The fire broke out at BM Container Depot in Kadamrasul area of the upazila on Saturday night.

Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) Police Outpost Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Alauddin Talukdar told Bangla Tribune: "The bodies have been kept at the morgue."

Istakul Islam, chief of Health & Service Department at Red Crescent Youth Chittagong, told Dhaka Tribune: "Over 450 people have been injured in this incident of which, at least 350 are at CMCH. The death toll could be more at other hospitals.”

Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) Police Outpost Sub-Inspector (SI) Nurul Alam said a fire broke out at the container depot around 9pm.

As Fire Service units worked to put it out, there was an explosion and then the fire spread.

SI Nurul added that initially it was being suspected that the container depot caught fire due to chemicals.

Police, Fire Service and local sources said the fire broke out inside BM Container Depot’s loading point around 9pm.

Around 11:45pm, there was a massive explosion and the fire spread from one container to another due to the presence of chemicals in one of the containers.

The sources added that the explosion shook the neighbourhood and shattered glasses of windows of nearby houses.

Chittagong Fire Service and Civil Defense Assistant Director Md Faruk Hossain Sikdar said: "Around 19 firefighting units are working to douse the blaze and six ambulances are also available on the spot."

 BM Container Depot is set up as an inland container depot which has been operating since May 2011.

Dhaka Tribune