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13 December, 2019 12:48:48 AM

Keraniganj fire death toll hits 13

Keraniganj fire death toll hits 13
Relatives of the victims of Keraniganj plastic factory fire cry outside the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital yesterday, a day after the inferno that claimed at least 13 lives and burnt score others. Inset, locals stage demonstration blocking a road in the area, demanding compensation for victims and relocation of industries from the neighbourhood. Independent and Focus Bangla Photos

The death toll in the fire at the Prime Patent Plastic Limited factory in Keraniganj rose to 13 after an injured died at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) yesterday. Around 5pm on Wednesday, a fire ravaged the plastic factory, killing one worker on the spot, while 31 were taken to DMCH with severe burn injuries. Eleven of the injured were moved to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn And Plastic Surgery and eight shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of that hospital. One injured was shifted to another hospital. Twelve workers died while undergoing treatment yesterday. Ten of the dead workers suffered 100 per cent burns and the rest received at least 20 per cent burns, confirmed AM Ariful Islam Nabin, resident surgeon of DMCH, yesterday.

Nabin said eight workers were admitted to the ICU, while 10 were critically injured with respiratory burns and admitted to DMCH burn unit. Among them, seven were in the dependency unit (HDU). Dr Samanta Lal Sen, coordinator of the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn & Plastic Surgery, said: “Tem persons were shifted to our institute from the DMCH burn unit. Two of them died while undergoing treatment, while others are on life support. Their condition is critical.”

Eleven of the dead have been identified. Those who succumbed to their injuries yesterday are:  Salauddin (32), Mahabubur Rahman (25), Zinarul Silam (32), Md Imran (18), Rayhan (16), Abdul Khalek (35), Babul (26), Alom (35), Abdur Razzak (45), Sujan (19), and Jahangir (55).

Locals said the fire broke out in a room where eight cylinders with inflammable gas were kept and there was a leak in the lines.

Around 300 people used to work in two shifts in the factory.

Around 150 people, including many women, were working when the tragedy struck. A 12-member medical board was formed, headed by Dr Bidhan Sarker, to treat the injured.

As many as 10 fire-fighting units were pressed into service to douse the fire. A fire official said the fire might have been caused by a gas-pipe leakage.

This correspondent spoke to relatives of some victims at the DMCH yesterday.

Mahabubur Rahman (25) died yesterday in the hospital. His father, Gulzar Hossain, identified his son after seeing the bracelet on his hand.

With tears rolling down his cheek, Gulzar said his son was supposed to meet him next Friday. “I was informed yesterday morning that there was a body lying in the morgue. I immediately rushed and identified my son after seeing his bracelet. My son used to wear a bracelet on his left hand."

“Mahabub told me to bring honey for him. He said he would meet me on Friday at my residence in Mirpur. My son came to his village home during last Eid.

I met him last 15 days ago. He used to get Tk. 17000 a month,” said Gulzar. This correspondent met Faisal’s wife, who was pregnant. They were married a year ago.

Alleni, wife of Lal Mia (40), a worker at the factory, was feeding her 11-month-old baby on the stairs of the burn unit. She told The Independent that her husband was a production manager of the factory and they have three daughters.

Lal Mia’s family rushed to the hospital after they were informed that he was in a critical condition.

Bashir (18), another worker, has been critically injured. His brother told The Independent that they were waiting to see his brother. The fire service yesterday formed a three-member probe committee to look into the cause of the fire and assess the extent of damage. The labour ministry also formed a five-member probe body to investigate the incident.

While visiting the burn unit, the state minister for power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, told reporters that the plastic factory was operating without any licence.

The factory was fined for non-compliance, according to the labour and employment ministry.

While visiting the spot, KM Ali Azam, secretary to the labour and employment ministry, said an inspection team of his ministry had visited the factory and fined the factory for non-compliance on November 5. A case was also filed in this connection, he added.

Meanwhile, Abul Hossain, deputy director of the Fire Service and Civil Defense, the factory did not have enough security measures. There were not sufficient exit doors through which the staff could come out during an emergency, he explained.  On November 28, 2016, a fire broke out at the factory and later on April 25, 2019, another fire broke out. However, there were no casualties on both occasions.





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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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