The mortal remains of two more bodies have been recovered from Sitakunda’s BM Container Depot in Bangladesh where a series of explosions lead to a fire on the 4th of June killing more than 41 people with many unaccounted for and injuring hundreds. Authorities revised the death toll down from Sunday’s 49 people initially reported.
As per fresh reports, there is no clear indication of how many people were at the site when the explosions occurred but it is estimated that over 500 people were working in and around the depot. The Daily Star is reporting that after 60 hours, the Bangladesh Army claimed to have brought the deadly fire at Sitakunda BM Container Depot under control.
“We were able to put out the fire, and there is no danger of it happening again. We’ve marked the hazardous area and are working to prevent further damage and contamination,” said the commanding officer of the 18-Bir contingent, Lt Col Ariful Islam, talking to the Daily Star.
“Inside the depot, a few containers are still strewn about. We don’t know how many containers contained the chemicals because related documents were burned and officials were injured,” he added.
While Bangladesh Fire Service has deployed fire-fighting hi-tech robots for the first time to extinguish the massive Sitakunda fire, they also seem to have experienced the most loss in their history.
As per news reports, 12 firefighters are missing, 21 injured, and 15 undergoing treatment in hospital with 2 in critical condition. As of Tuesday (7 June), it has been reported that 9 bodies were recovered and the shadow of death has descended on Sitakunda and Kumira fire stations in the industrial area which is now completely hollow and empty.
“In my entire career, we have never lost so many workers on one mission. We had to bear such a profound loss due to lack of information on the extent of the fire,” Brigadier General Md Main Uddin, director-general of the Department of Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD) told TBS.
“I have been in this job for 6 years now. Over the course of that, I have taken part in extinguishing more than 350 fires, big and small, in Chittagong. But this is the first time I have had to stand idle and watched a fire burn. Our hands were tied because there were chemicals inside the container. It was not possible to approach any further and even flooding with water was not working.” Shafiqul Islam, station officer of Chittagong Agrabad Fire Service Station, told TBS.
Such incidences bring to the fore the importance of having a good understanding and knowledge about hazardous cargoes, its storage requirements and global transport..