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Dhaka Tribune

BM depot blast: School teacher father still crying for son

It was not an act of sabotage, but an accident, said DB

Update : 07 May 2023, 09:30 PM

Even after 11 months of the BM Container Depot explosion, school teacher father Faridul Alam often burst into tears holding his son Mubinul Haque' picture who died in the blast last year. 

The 26-year-old Mubinul was a resident of Madhukhali area of Chanua Union of Banshkhali upazila of Chittagong.

Mubinul's elder brother Md Abdullah Al Mamun Faisal said: "Mubin graduated in  Economics from Chittagong Haji Mohammad Mohsin College. He joined as a computer operator at the container depot three months before the accident. We fixed his marriage with a girl. The wedding date would have been fixed soon. Mubin left us in the meantime."

Recalling the day of the incident, he said: "On the day of the incident, Mubin called Baba at around 9:30pm and said that there is a fire in the depot. One of my legs is burnt. I may not survive. Please forgive me Baba. After hearing this, we rushed to the spot. Later identified my brother's body at Chittagong Medical College Hospital morgue."

When asked whether he blamed the negligence of the depot authorities in the incident, the victim's brother Faisal said: "I do not want any trial or punishment of the authorities for this. The depot authorities paid the money. The money my brother used to get every month is still being paid. I have no complaints against them."

The truck driver Main Uddin was killed in this incident. He is the son of Hemayet Ullah of Hatia upazila of Noakhali. 

Hemayet Ullah said: "Main Uddin was the eldest of my two sons and a daughter. He went to the BM depot with a container of exportable goods from another company. His vehicle was burnt in the blast. My son Main Uddin died."

When asked Hemayet Ullah what he thinks there was any negligence on the part of the depot authorities for the son's death he said: "I am an auto-rickshaw driver. Even if the depot authorities are at fault, it is not possible for me to fight against them. But they paid money for my son's compensation."

On May 5, the Detective Branch (DB) of the police in Chittagong said it has not found any negligence of Sitakunda's BM Container Depot owners or officials in the massive explosion and fire there on June 4 last year, which left 51 people dead and 250 injured.

According to the final report of the DB submitted to court on Tuesday, eight officials, accused in a case filed over the explosion, were not responsible for the blast.

It was not an act of sabotage, but an accident, said the report, which came to light on Friday. Along with this, the eight accused in the case have also been recommended to be exempted from the trial.

The eight accused are General Manager Nazmul Akhtar Khan, Deputy General Manager (Operations) Nurul Akhtar Khan, Manager (Administration) Khaledur Rahman, Assistant Administrative Officer Abbas Ullah, Senior Executive (Administration) Nasir Uddin, Assistant Manager Abdul Aziz, Depot Shed In-charge Saiful Islam and Assistant Depot In-charge Nazrul Islam.

In the statement of the case filed in the case of fire and explosion in the depot, it was said that the owner did not inform the fire service about the presence of containers full of chemicals in the depot. 

Due to this, it was not possible to extinguish the fire of the chemical container with water. The fire spread from one container to another due to chemicals. 

It is further mentioned in the statement of the case that apart from storing the imported and exported garment products in containers, drums full of chemicals were also kept at the BM depot. 

But the depot authorities did not have enough firefighting equipment and trained manpower to deal with the fire. They did not have any kind of preparation to extinguish the fire with chemical substances. 

In this situation, when the fire originated in the depot, several teams of fire service tried to put out the fire with water. But the depot authorities did not inform the fire service about the presence of chemicals in drums. The fire spread from one container to another due to the chemicals in the drums. This fire could not be extinguished with water. Instead, six-seven containers of chemicals in drums exploded simultaneously.

The police also mentioned that due to the severity of the explosion, the glass of many buildings within two to three kilometres of the surrounding area fell to pieces. Fire service personnel, police personnel and a large number of people on the spot were injured by the scattered fragments of the exploded container. That is why it took time to bring the fire under control. Negligence of duty by officials, poor management and mismanagement in the operation of depots resulted in fires and casualties.

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