Depot fire kills at least 34 people and injures hundreds

A huge explosion in Bangladesh has killed 34 people, including five firefighters.

Hundreds more have been injured following the blast, which took place at a depot near the city of Chittagong.

Witnesses described seeing ‘fireballs falling like rain’ during the chaos.

The fire broke out around midnight on Saturday following explosions in a container full of chemicals.

The cause of the fire could not be immediately determined.

At least five firefighters were among the dead, according to Brigadier General Main Uddin, director general of the Bangladesh fire service and civil defence.

Another 15 firefighters were being treated for burn injuries, he added.

Multiple rounds of explosions occurred after the initial blast as the fire continued to spread, Mr Uddin said.

Explosives experts from Bangladesh’s military have been called in to assist the firefighters.

The explosions shattered the windows of nearby buildings and were felt as far as two-and-a-half miles away, officials and local media reports said.

Firefighters were still working to bring the fire under control today.

The blast took place in Sitakunda, which is around 25 miles from Chittagong.

Hospitals in the region are said to be overwhelmed and have appealed for blood donations.

The depot handles goods for export and import, and is located about 12 miles from the country’s main Chittagong Seaport.

Bangladesh has a history of industrial disasters, including factories catching fire with workers trapped inside.

Monitoring groups have blamed corruption and lax enforcement for deadly incidents over the years.

Global brands, which employ tens of thousands of low-paid workers in Bangladesh, have come under fire to improve factory conditions in recent years.

In the country’s massive garment industry, which employs about four million people, safety conditions have improved significantly after massive reforms, but experts say accidents could still occur if other sectors do not make similar changes.

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