At least five people died and 100 more were injured after a fire tore through a container depot in Bangladesh’s southeastern town of Sitakunda, officials said Sunday.
The fire broke out at an inland container storage facility 40 kilometers outside of the country’s main seaport of Chittagong shortly before midnight, fire service official Jalal Ahmed said.
Multiple firefighting units rushed to the depot to douse the fire when a massive explosion rocked the site, injuring scores of people, including firefighters.
Chittagong’s chief doctor Elias Chowdhury told AFP that at least five people were killed and about 100 were injured.
Of the injured, about 20 people were in critical condition with burns covering 60%-90% of their bodies.
Emergency crews were still working to put out the fire Sunday morning, and local hospitals, including military clinics, were treating the injured.
Ruhul Amin Sikder, spokesperson for the Bangladesh Inland Container Association (BICA), said some of the containers at the 30-acre private depot held chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide.
Mujibur Rahman, the director of the facility, said the cause of the fire was unknown. He added the facility, B.M. Container Depot, employs some 600 people.
In 2020, three workers were killed after an oil tank exploded in another container depot in the neighboring Patenga area.
There are 19 private inland container depots in the South Asian nation handling the country’s exports and a large chunk of import goods.