A man was killed and 34 others were critically burnt in a fire, reportedly triggered by gas cylinder blast inside a plastic appliance factory at Keraniganj in Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon.
The fire broke out at about 4:30pm at Prime Pet and Plastic Industries housed in a multi-storey building named Habib Mansion, Fire Service and Civil Defence officers said.
The identity of the deceased could not be known, they added.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital resident physician ASM Ariful Islam said that the conditions of all the 34 injured were critical and they were put under intensive care.
‘Ten of the injured are fighting for their lives with 100 per cent of their bodies burnt,’ said Ariful Islam as he briefed media in the evening.
The rest got over 50 per cent of their bodies burnt, he said.
The doctor made an open call to Dhaka citizens to rush to the hospital for donating plasma.
‘Now we need a lot of plasma donors,’ he said.
Meher Banu, a relative of one of the injured, Faisal, said that she heard a loud sound at about 4:30pm from the factory and then there were more as the factory went up in fire.
Meher Banu lives close to the factory.
The DMCH premises were filled with relatives of the injured and journalists covering the accident as politicians and police high ups also thronged there to learn more about the accident.
Dhaka superintendent of police Maruf Hossain said that they initially believed that the gas cylinder explosion sparked the fire.
‘We are waiting for somebody to lodge a complaint so that we can initiate legal proceedings against the owner of the factory,’ he said in the evening.
Fire service control room duty officer Farhadul Alam said that the fire was put out at about 6:10 pm. It took more than one and half an hour for 10 fire fighting units to douse the fire, he said.
Rokeya Begum, whose two brothers were under treatment for critical burns, said that there had been at least five incidents of fire at the factory in last four years.
‘Nobody really cared about anything happening at the factory,’ she said.
Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment’s deputy inspector general Ahmed Belal said that they visited the factory two months ago and had asked it to be compliant.
He said that the factory had 22 female and 48 male workers.
Power and energy state minister Nasrul Hamid visited the injured at the DMCH.
‘The factory was operating without any approval of the government,’ he said.
‘There are many such factories operating in Dhaka at the moment as the government agencies are not acting properly,’ he said.
‘Many of these lives could have been saved had government agencies played their role,’ said Nasrul.
A list of the 34 injured released by the DMCH showed that the injured were aged between 14 and 55, all men.
In March at least 26 people were killed after a fire broke out in a 23-storey building at Banani.
he Banani fire occurred barely a month after a fire generated at a chemical warehouse at Chawk Bazar in the Old Town of Dhaka killed at least 70 people.
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