Death toll of juice factory fire in Bangladesh rises to 52 as blaze continues for 2nd day
DHAKA -- At least 52 people have died as a huge fire raged for a second day in a juice factory in Narayanganj on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka.
Deputy Director of Fire Service and Civil Defense Debashish Bardhan told reporters that they had pulled 49 bodies from the debris of the burning factory on Friday afternoon.
"Forty nine bodies, most of them beyond recognition, were recovered from the 4th floor of the building on Friday afternoon," he said, adding that the bodies will be identified through DNA test for handover to their family members.
Three more deaths were reported in the immediate aftermath of the fire on Thursday night.
The district's chief administrator Mostain Billah told Xinhua on Friday night that "49 people were reported missing."
But he said they don't know immediately whether the 49 charred bodies, beyond recognition already recovered from the fire site, are of the missing persons.
He said that a total of 20 people were admitted to the National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery following the fire devastation.
But local media reports put the number of injured people at 50.
Firefighters said many people jumped off the building in a bid to save themselves from the blaze and three of them succumbed to their injuries on Thursday.
A total of 18 firefighting units managed to bring the fire at the six-storey building of the local factory under control, after a day of fighting at around 3:00 pm local time Friday, said Billah.
But local media reports say the fire in the factory has not yet been completely doused though it was almost under control since Thursday night.
TV reports Friday night showed fires were still raging in some parts of the factory.
According to the officials, the six-storey factory used to produce various juices, soft drinks and food items, caught fire around 5:30 pm local time on Thursday.
Md Abdul Al Arefin, Narayanganj District Fire Service and Civil Defence deputy director, told reporters that it would take some time more for them to completely douse the fire.
Until the fire is extinguished completely, he said it would not be possible to assess how much damage has occurred and find the exact cause of the fire.
A spokesman of the factory was not immediately available for comment.
Officials said the fire originated from the ground floor of the six-storey building, and spread quickly to several other upper floors because of the presence of chemicals and plastic materials.
They said severe heat from the blaze has caused cracks in a part of the building and its windows are falling apart, with plumes of black smoke billowing out of the factory.
Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have expressed profound shock and grief over the loss of lives in the fire.
A seven-member probe committee has been formed by the district administration to look into the incident.
However, survivors and relative alleged that the only gate to enter and exit the factory premises was locked and they staged demonstration outside and around the factory premises on Friday.
Against this backdrop, law enforcers in large numbers have been deployed to maintain law and order situation at the site.
The factory building had reportedly no proper fire safety measures, according to the workers.
The exact cause of the blaze in factory is still unclear, but the district's Police chief Md Zayedul Alam told Xinhua earlier in the day that it may have been triggered by a short circuit.