Firefighters spray water to extinguish a fire at the fire site of a container depot in Chattogram, Bangladesh on June 5, 2022. (Xinhua)

DHAKA– At least 45 people were killed and hundreds of others injured as a devastating fire swept through a container facility in Chattogram district, about 242 km southeast of the capital Dhaka.

The fire broke out in one of the containers loaded with chemicals in the container yard located in Sitakunda on the outskirts of Chattogram on Saturday night.

The district’s chief administrator Mohammad Mominur Rahman told Xinhua over phone that “the death toll of the depot fire has risen to 45 on Sunday.”

According to Brigadier General Shamim Ahsan, director of Chattogram Medical College Hospital, at least 250 people who suffered burn injuries in the devastating fire that erupted at about 8:00 p.m. local time Saturday at the private BM Container Depot, a Netherlands-Bangladesh joint venture, were treated in the hospital.

He said most of the victims were shifted to hospitals, mostly suffering from mild to heavy burns, adding that the death toll could rise as some of the injured were still in critical condition.

Rahman said 25 firefighting units had still been battling to put out the blaze.

The massive fire at the BM Container Depot was yet to come under control despite efforts to douse the flames.

According to local sources, explosions shook the neighbourhood and shattered windows of nearby houses.

Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Ashraf Uddin said the Bangladeshi Army has joined the Fire Service to bolster rescue and fire controlling efforts. 

Around 250 members of the Bangladesh soldiers were working, he added.

The depot had hydrogen peroxide, said Lt. Col.

Monira Sultana, commander of Chattogram cantonment Engineering Corps 1.”Our chemical experts are also working with the firefighters to control the spread of fire,” she said.

A team of army personnel were working to assist in the rescue operation and bring the fire under control, while another team was scrambling to prevent chemicals at the depot from spreading to the sea.

Mujibur Rahman, director of the BM Container Depot, said in a statement that it was not clear what caused the fire exactly.

But he believed the fire started from a container loaded with chemicals. – Xinhua