After a fire in a Styrofoam factory in Dhaka’s Mirpur Section 1 on 1 February 2015, 13 people have been confirmed dead. The six storied APCCO Complex went ablaze after an explosion around at 5 PM in the evening. According to various reports, more that 70 workers were inside the building when the fire started. Bini Bhushan Shib, the owner of the factory, received serious burn injuries and died on the spot.
According to the fire fighters, the van parked at the main gate of the building caught fire as gas cylinders exploded on the ground floor. They had pulled out eight charred bodies from the ground floor. Many of the workers started to escape through the windows, doors or any opening they could find for an escape.
During a spot visit, at least five mangled and exploded gas cylinders were seen. There were cracks on several walls of the building. DMC morgue sources said most of the deceased had been burnt beyond recognition.
Factory worker Imran Hossain Khan said, “Many of the workers came out but some got trapped inside as the fire engulfed the building quickly.” He said 150 people worked there in two shifts. Several workers of the factory suffered severe burn injuries. [The Daily Star, 2 February 2015]
Tawhidul Islam, 50, a security guard at the building who sustained 28 percent burn injuries, said, “Kamal Hossain, I and another security guard were having tea at the gate of the building. The van was loading there. We heard a loud bang and came running out of the building. But the tongues of fire already burnt me and Kamal.” [The Daily Star, 2 February 2015]
Kamal, also a security guard, received 35 percent burn injuries and is in a critical condition, said Burn Institute of DMCH sources. Rabiul, an injured, said about 40 workers of the factory were working on the ground floor when the fire broke out. One of the deceased was identified as Rashida Begum, 37, of Nalchity upazila of Jhalakathi. Her son Russell, 19, was working on the first floor and he escaped unhurt.
Eighteen fire engines doused the fire in about an hour and a half. Inside the building, the top floor of which was made of corrugated iron sheets, there were flammable materials, plastics and gas cylinders, believed to be the reason behind the fire spreading fast.
At the scene, law enforcers were struggling to control hundreds of onlookers crowding the spot. A wall of the factory collapsed as over enthusiastic bystanders tried to enter the building after the fire was put out.
A three member probe committee was formed by the fire service. The committee is to submit its report in three days.
RISE Society (Source: Different News Papers and Spot witnesses)