At least 24 people have been killed and more than 50 people injured when a boiler at a packaging factory exploded in Tongi.
The explosion triggered a massive fire and led to the partial collapse of the three-storey factory building of Tampaco Foils Ltd in the Bscic industrial area in Gazipur, some 20km north of capital Dhaka, on Saturday morning.
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Boiler of Tempako Packaging Factory exploded around 6:15am in Bisic industrial area of Tongi. Photo - Mahmud Hossain Opu/DhakaTribune[/caption]
“So far, we have confirmation that 23 people have been killed,” State Minister for Health Zahid Malik said. “We have ensured treatment for the injured. The government will bear the medical expenses.”
However, our correspondents from the spot reported that they have counted some 24 bodies so far. Nineteen bodies have been recovered from the spot while five others succumbed to their injuries.
A medical team was at the spot to give first aid, Zahid said, briefing the media at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Seven of the deceased have been identified as security guards Abdul Hannan and Jahangir Hossain, packaging operator Rafiqul Islam, Shift-in-Charge Shuvas Chandra, generator operator Anisur Rahman, floor operator Idris Ali and cleaner Shankar Sarkar.
Thirty burn victims were rushed to the DMCH and 10 other injured to Kurmitola Hospital, said Dr Md Parvez Mia, a residential surgeon of 50-bed Tongi Government Hospital.
Three burn victims succumbed to their injuries at DMCH, said Dr Abul Kalam Azad, DG of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). He said several others were in critical condition.
He said about 35 people had received first aid at Tongi hospital.
Of the injured, Operator Ripon Das, 28, hailing from Bagerhat, has been admitted to the DMCH with 90% burns, Russel Khan, 30, with 6% burns, and Pran Krishna Sarkar, 40, with a broken leg.
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The explosion took place during a change of shifts. (Credit: Mahmud Hossain Opu)[/caption]
What triggered the boiler explosion remains unclear. Fire struggled to control the blaze. Officials say about 100 people were working at the factory when the explosion took place at 6:15am.
The factory is owned by one Mokbul Hossain. Tampaco's website lists
leading global brands such British American Tobacco and Nestle among its customers. Big local names such as Abul Khair Group, Akij Group, Pran Group, Ispahani, and BD Foods Ltd are also among its clients.
Fire Service Headquarters Director Lt Col Mosharraf Hussain said 25 fire trucks were working to extinguish the fire. DGHS DG Azad said they feared 10-15 others may still be trapped inside but Mosharraf said they were not sure.
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What caused the explosion is unclear. (Credit: Arifur Rahman Rabbi)[/caption]
Gazipur Deputy Commissioner SM Alam told the Dhaka Tribune that a five-member probe body has been formed to look into the incident.
State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque and local MP Zahid Ahsan Rasel visited the spot around noon. IGP Shahidul Hoque went there in the afternoon.
Director of Labour (Joint Secretary) SM Ashrafuzzaman told reporters at the DMCH that families of the dead workers would get Tk2 lakh and the injured a maximum Tk1 lakh each as grants from the labour welfare fund.
In a condolence message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, expressed deep shock at the deaths and injuries.
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The government has confirmed 23 deaths so far. (Credit: Arifur Rahman Rabbi)[/caption]
Dhaka Divisional Commissioner Helal Uddin said the families of the deceased will be given Tk20,000 each for funeral and the injured will get Tk10,000 each from the district administration.
Quoting the labour minister, Helal said the dead workers' families will receive Tk1 lakh each.
Lax safety measures have been attributed to a series of accidents in Bangladesh's factories over the years. A fire at a readymade garment factory at Savar in 2012 killed over 100 people. It was followed by the 2013 collapse of a factory building in Savar that killed over 1,100 people.
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Rescuers carry away the body of a victim from the site. (Credit: Arifur Rahman Rabbi)[/caption]
With the Eid-ul-Azha two days away, the accident has marred the joyous occasion for families of the victims.
Atikul Islam said he could not reach his brother Rafikul Islam over phone after the accident and went to the Tongi hospital.
“I saw my brother's body lying there. He was supposed to go to our village in Mymensingh to celebrate Eid. Now, I have to take his body home,” he said before breaking down in tears.