At least 49 people were killed and more than 300 injured in a huge chemical explosion, triggered by a fire, at a container depot in Sitakunda, Bangladesh, officials said on Sunday. Volunteer rescuers, sometimes wearing only flip-flops, were extracting corpses from the charred, debris-strewn dump, and claimed there were still some left inside.
Several people still missing
The fire broke out on Saturday around 9:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. GMT) in a private warehouse housing some 4,000 containers in Sitakunda, about 40 kilometers from the major port of Chittagong in the south-east of the country. Hundreds of firefighters rushed to the scene to put it out, but an hour after the disaster broke out, several containers of chemicals exploded, the fire services said.
“More than 300 people are injured,” Elias Chowdhury, the region’s main health official, told. According to him, several people are still missing, including journalists who were covering the fire live. “The death toll will rise as the rescue operations are not yet complete,” he warned.
Seven firefighters died
“There are still bodies in the places affected by the fire. I saw eight or ten corpses,” a rescue worker told the media. At least seven firefighters have died and four are missing, said Reazul Karim.
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