A boiler inspector said that the failure of a safety device could be the reason behind the boiler explosion at the Multifabs Ltd factory in Gazipur on Monday evening.
Boiler inspector Hanif Hossain from the Labour Ministry told the Dhaka Tribune that a report has to be filed with the boiler division after a preliminary investigation of accidents like these. He said that he had filed the report after inspecting the factory on Tuesday.
In the report, he mentioned that the boiler maintenance manager, Khokon Kundu had told him that even though the license had expired, the boiler was still in operation on Monday. The safety device developed a fault at that time, but was repaired partially and continued to run, resulting in the explosion on Monday evening.
Hossain said: “The rule is to inspect the boilers every year and then to renew the license. Their license had been renewed last year, and ended on June 24. The factory had applied to renew their license on July 3, just before the accident. According to the procedures, a date for the inspection was then decided with the factory to determine if the boiler was suitable for license renewal.”
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He also said: “After inspecting the boiler, it was found that the safety device had a fault, which caused more pressure to be exerted on the boiler than the prescribed limit, which caused the explosion. The maximum prescribed pressure for a boiler is 10 bar.”
Over 50 people were injured and 11 killed in the boiler blast at Multifabs Limited, a four-storey apparel factory in Kashimpur’s Nayapara area, on Monday.
The incident took place around 7:40pm when the employees were in its dying section on the ground floor.
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The destruction left in the aftermath of the boiler blast Dhaka Tribune
Fire engulfed the entire floor following the blast and later spread to the second floor of the building, leading to the causalities.
On information, firefighters went to the scene and doused the blaze with the help of locals around 9pm.
Akhtaruzzaman, deputy director of the Gazipur fire service and head of the five-man fire service investigation team for the incident, said they were looking for the pressure release valve, the boiler's safety device. Once found, it would tell them the main cause of the explosion.
Rahenul Islam, additional deputy commissioner and head of the nine-person probe committee formed by the district administration, said that they were investigating seven possible reasons for the explosion, including five technical and two administrative causes. A specialist from Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology (DUET), Professor Kamruzzaman was taken to the site to check for technical defects. He has asked for access to parts of the boiler from the factory administration. Rahenul also mentioned that as part of the investigation, they had interviewed 14 people from the factory on Wednesday, during which time they have looked at the expertise and credentials of the operators. Although the boiler had been manufactured in 1996 and its license had expired on June 24th, they were unsure if that was the cause for the boiler's explosion.
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Kamruzzaman said: “People from the factory have given us false information. But after talking to some people, we figured out that the pressure was created because the boiler's main delivery valve was closed. When the pressure became too high, the boiler exploded.”
He mentioned that he had asked for a fusable plug, two safety valves and a pressure gauge from the factory officials for his investigation. Once he has access to those, he said that he would be able to figure out the primary cause of the boiler's explosion.
The authorities of Multifabs Limited have already announced to shut down the factory for an indefinite period.
The authorities of 10 other apparel factory units in Nayapara area have also announced a holiday on Tuesday.