Tariffs from the giant explosion, which followed a fire in the BM container depot in Sitakunda and sent fireballs to the sky, were expected to rise further.
Some containers were still smoking on Monday, more than 36 hours after the explosion, preventing rescuers from investigating victims in the area around them.
About a dozen of the 300 injured were in mortal danger.
The nine dead firefighters are the worst customs for the fire brigade in the country where industrial accidents occur, where safety standards are weak and corruption often makes it possible to ignore them.
“The station’s authorities did not inform us that there were deadly substances. Nine of our officers were killed. Two fighters are still missing. Some are also missing,” Mohammad Kamruzzaman, a firefighter, told AFP.
Purnachandra Mutsuddi, who was in charge of firefighting at the 26-hectare facility on Saturday night, said it “had no fire prevention plan” and lacked firefighting equipment to put it out before going to hell.
“The security plan states how the depot will fight and control the fire. But it was nothing, “said Mutsuddi, deputy director of the Chittagong Fire Department, in an interview with AFP.
“They also did not inform us about the materials. If they did, the loss of life would have been much less,” he said.
BM Container Depot in Sitakunda, an industrial town 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Chittagong Port, is a joint venture between Bangladesh and Dutch businessmen with around 600 employees and began operations in 2012.
Its chairman is mentioned on his website as Bert Pronk, a Dutch citizen, but AFP did not reach him for comment. Few European businessmen work in the country.
Local newspapers said one of its owners was a senior official in the Awami League ruling party based in Chittagong, which is also the editor of a local Bengali newspaper.
Police have not yet filed a lawsuit over the fire. “Our investigation is ongoing. We will look into everything,” said local police chief Abul Kalam Azad.
– ‘Fall like rain’ – Reykskvíslar rose into the bright morning sky from tens of twenty-foot containers in the storage on Monday.
“About 30-40 containers are still being smoked,” said Harun Rashid, the fire chief. “The fire is under control. But materials are the main problems.”
When the fire is completely extinguished, rescuers will search the area for more victims, he said.
Mujibur Rahman, CEO of BM Container Depot, said the cause of the fire was still unknown.
The containers stored hydrogen peroxide, according to Fire Chief Main Uddin, and witnesses said the entire town shook when the materials exploded.
“The explosion sent fireballs into the sky,” said Mohammad Ali, 60, who runs a nearby grocery store. “Fireballs fell like rain.
“We were so scared that we immediately left our home to find refuge,” he added. “We thought the fire would spread to us as it is very densely populated.
Elias Chowdhury, chief physician at Chittagong, said doctors at many hospitals had been called back after the holidays to help treat hundreds of injured people.
About 90 percent of the roughly $ 100 billion in Bangladesh’s business – including clothing for H&M, Walmart and others – passes through Chittagong Harbor at the top of the Bay of Bengal.
Rakibul Alam Chowdhury of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said about $ 110 million worth of garments had been destroyed in the fire.
“This is a huge loss for the industry,” he said.
str-sa / slb / lb
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