The Chittagong depot is still burning with firefighters keeping away newsmen and depot officials far from the area fearing fresh blasts as they have identified four more chemical laden boxes close to the burning containers.

“We could be sure about the presence of chemicals in four more containers,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ariful Islam Himel while briefing newsmen outside the depot gate.

“We are trying to move them to the safer places to avoid further blasts,” he noted.

Members from Bangladesh Army, Navy, and Air Forces are helping firefighters by providing manpower and equipment since Sunday morning to bring the deadliest and most devastating fire in the history of inland container depot culture in the country.

Firefighters said they need more time to bring fire under control as they need to work very carefully to avoid any more causality. Nearly 46 hours have passed since the fire occurred in the BM Container Depot on Saturday at 9.00 PM (local time).

“We are now trying to douse fire by opening containers with a special team of Bangladesh Army,” said Monir Hossain, assistant director, Fire Service and Civil Defense.

He added that now mainly the apparel items are being burnt inside the containers.

The health authorities, however, have corrected the number of dead people in the fire incident to 41 from 49 previously told, but more causality are expected as some injured are in severe critical conditions in hospitals in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Meantime, Sweden-based clothing retailer H&M had 50,000 pieces of goods in the container depot that burnt to the ashes in the fire. Ziaur Rahman, country manager of H&M, told a local newspaper that they will make payment to the exporters against all of its goods burnt after coming to the depot.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) have asked their members to inform the associations about the volume of goods they lost in the depot fire.

Meantime, feared over the chemical incident in the container depot, the Chittagong Port Authority has moved to relocate all the chemicals laden boxes outside the yards, especially which had been staying there for a long period.

Sharar Nayel

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