The fire was contained around 8pm, nearly three and a half hours after it had broken out
A worker was killed in a massive fire that engulfed a chemical factory in Gazipur’s Sreepur upazila on Thursday afternoon.
Factory worker Alamgir Hossain, 30, was found dead on the ground floor of the factory. His body was recovered around 10:45pm on Thursday from the factory floor, Sreepur police station’s Officer-in-Charge (OC) Khondokar Imam Hossain said.
At least 16 people have been injured in the blast and fire, of them one Ishak Ali, 45, suffered severe burns.
Six including Ishak have been admitted to Mymensingh Medical College Hospital and one has been sent to the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR). Nine others are undergoing treatment at Al Hera Hospital.
A worker named Parvez is missing, claims his brother Jahangir Alam.
The district administration formed a five-member investigation committee headed by the additional district magistrate. It has been ordered to submit findings within the next seven working days, said deputy commissioner SM Tarikul Islam.
The fire was contained around 8pm, nearly three and a half hours after it had broken out. Seven firefighting units worked to contain the blaze at Tepirbari village under Telihati union.
The cause of the fire and the extent of damage could not be known yet.
A loud explosion and a huge column of smoke belching out of the factory triggered panic among the locals.
Sreepur Fire Service and Civil Defence’s station officer Mia Raja said two of their units initially went to the scene. Later, more firefighting units from Mymensingh and Joydebpur joined them.
Chemicals might be behind the explosion
Mia Raja also said the entire seven-storey building of the factory was used for chemical production and storage. Initially it is being assumed that the stored hydrogen peroxide started the fire.
Various chemicals were stored on each floor of the building. These include chlorine, bleaching powder, caustic soda, aluminum carbohydrates, among others.
Production work continued in the building till 2:30pm. It was initially reported that at least 22 workers were in the building at the time of the fire.
Locals complained that residents of the area had been experiencing toxic gases in the deep tube well water for a long time due to the factory's chemical production.
People inside the factory drink processed and safe drinking water, but they have put the locals at rick. Despite repeated protests, demonstrations and human chaining, no remedy was found, said locals.
Sohail Rana, an official with the factory's human resources department, said the allegations were baseless. The factory produces chemicals in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Environment.
He also said that people working in the factory also drink water from deep tubewells. Regarding the incident, he said, "I have heard that five to six people have been injured. None of the injured were to be found after the blaze. No deaths were reported.”