Gazipur, Sept 10 (UNB) –The death toll from the fatal boiler blast at a packaging factory near Tongi Railway Station here climbed to 26, with the death of five more injured people on Saturday morning.
The blast sparked off huge fire and led to the collapse of the 4-storey factory, said deputy director of Fire Service and Civil Defence Badiuzzaman.
He said the boiler at Tampaco Foils Ltd factory exploded with a big bang around 6:15 am.
Twenty-three units of fire service from Joydebpur, Tongi, Tajgaon and Sadar rushed to the spot and brought the blaze under control around 10:20 am.
However, it could not yet be ascertained what caused the fire, he said adding that the firefighters are now carrying out dumping works.
Director (Operations) of Fire Service Lt Col Mosharref Hossain said, “The blaze couldn’t fully be extinguished till 4pm. We’re still not sure whether there’re more bodies at the factory.”
Nineteen of the bodies were kept at Tongi 50-Bed Hospital, while the rest seven, including that of a woman, at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), report UNB Gazipur and DMCH correspondents.
They said around 70 people were injured in the blast and 19 of them, including three with burn injuries, were admitted to the DMCH.
DMCH police camp in-charge sub-inspector Bacchu Miah said among the 19 injured victims admitted to DMCH, five succumbed to their injuries at the hospital.
Twenty of the deceased were identified as Subhas Chandra of Gopalpur upazila in Tangail, Jahangir Alam of Bhola, Hannan of Matlab upazila of Chandpur, Edon of Comilla, Gopal Das and Shangkar of Nababganj, Al Mamun, Rafiqul of Mymensingh, Abdur Rashed, Solaiman, Hossain, Enamul Haque, Anisur Rahman, Moinuddin Ahmed, Saidur Rahman of Sylhet and Wahiduzzaman, 35, of Sirajganj, Anwar Hossain, 40, Delwar Hossain of Sherpur, Tahmina AKhter, 20, of Habiganj, Ashiq, 12, of Mymensingh.
Russell Khan, undergoing treatment at the burn unit of the DMCH, told UNB that the explosion took place around 6am when he was coming out of the building. “I couldn’t understand how the blast occurred.”
Some of the factory workers told the UNB correspondent that the blast occurred when the night shift workers were leaving the factory and workers of the next shift entering it.
Around 150 workers were in the factory building when the boiler went off, they said.
“Many workers were screaming for help from the 4th and 5th floors of the factory when the fire broke out but we couldn’t rescue them due to heat and black smoke bellowing out of the building,” said a witness.
Factory owner Syed Md Mokbul Hossain, also an ex-MP of Sylhet-6 constituency, told reporters that 75 workers were working in his factory on Friday night.
He said the factory was established in 1977 and there were 450 workers in it. He assured that the families of the deceased and the injured workers will be given the due compensation.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, meanwhile, visited the spot around 4:15 pm.
State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque Chunnu visited the spot at 12:30pm and announced to give Tk one lakh financial support to each of the families of the deceased.
The junior minister also said those who will be found guilty upon investigation will be punished.
Deputy Commissioner SM Alam also announced assistance of Tk 20,000 for each of the families of the deceased and Tk 10,000 for each of the injured.
Meanwhile, Gazipur district administration formed a five-member probe committee, led by Additional District Magistrate Rahenul Islam, to probe the incident.