At least 26 people were killed and more than 74 others injured today in a huge fire triggered by a boiler explosion at a packaging factory in Bangladesh. The fire broke out due to boiler explosion at the four-storey Tempako Packaging Factory around 6:15 AM in Bisic industrial area of Tongi, north of Dhaka, said Gazipur Fire Service and Civil Defence Deputy Assistant Director Akhtaruzzaman.
A part of the building collapsed as the rage of the blaze spread despite frantic efforts of the fire fighters. At least 26 people were killed and than 74 others sustained burn injuries, hospitals sources said. Officials said 19 bodies are now in the Tongi hospital, five at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and two more at the Adhunik Medical College Hospital at Dhaka’s Uttara.
While 30 burnt victims were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, 10 others shifted to Kurmitola Hospital, said the residential physician. Ten of the injured are struggling for life with critical burn wounds, officials said. Twenty five units of firefighters were trying to douse the fire. Flames and smoke were seen billowing out of the factory, six hours after the fire started. The fire service said strong winds had fanned the flames.
A five-member probe body headed by Gazipur Executive Magistrate Rehanul Islam has been formed to look into the incident, Gazipur Deputy Commissioner SM Alam said. The factory produced and printed the plastic packaging for food items like potato chips and small household goods including mosquito coils.
Low-cost manufacturing is a mainstay of Bangladesh’s economy, but a series of industrial disasters in recent years have raised concerns about safety standards. Tighter controls have been introduced, but dozens of workers still die every year. At least 13 people died in a fire at a plastics factory Dhaka last year.
In 2012, 112 workers died in a fire at a factory just outside the capital. The country suffered an even greater tragedy in 2013 when the Rana Plaza garment complex collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing 1,135 people.