At least nine people were killed and about 50 others injured in a boiler explosion at a garment factory in Joydebpur of Gazipur yesterday evening.
The death toll may rise as some of the victims are injured critically, said Aminul Islam, officer-in-charge of Joydebpur Police Station.
Identities of the deceased could not be ascertained till last night. Six of the victims died at the scene while two in local hospitals and one in Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The boiler explosion at a factory of Multifabs Ltd in Kashimpur area around 7:15pm was massive. Some people on the street beside the factory were injured as well, said Akhtaruzzaman, deputy assistant director of fire service in Gazipur.
Six units of fire engines doused the fire caused by the blast around 9:30pm and rescued people, he said.
Mesba Faruqui, Director (Factory and Operation) of Multifabs Ltd, said he heard about the fire.
The factory was scheduled to open today (Tuesday) after the Eid vacation, he claimed, adding that some people were there for maintenance works.
Contacted, an inspector of the Office of the Chief Inspector of Boilers, a government agency under the industries ministry, said it seemed like the boiler exploded due to an operational error.
Multifabs Ltd is an export oriented one-stop manufacturer of knitted apparel, according to its website.
Deputy Commissioner of Gazipur Mohammad Humayun Kabir said an eight-member committee headed by the additional district magistrate of Gazipur was formed to find the cause of the fire. The committee will submit the report in seven working days.
The DC said Tk 20,000 would be given to each family of the dead.
Abdul Alim, who was working in a nearby factory of Islam Knit Designs Limited, said glass windows of his factory shattered in the impact of the blast.
Fire service official Akhtaruzzaman said the boiler room was on the ground floor of the four-storey building. Plaster fell off the walls and floors over the boiler room by the impact of the explosion.
At least 17 people died in three boiler blasts from January to April this year. Of them, 13 died in a single incident in Dinajpur, according to The Daily Star reports.
A boiler is a closed tank in which water is heated. The main function of it is to generate steam for space heating, sterilisation, drying, humidification and power generation. And the government's lack of inspection capabilities of this widely used equipment is evident in the string of fatal accidents.
For the 5,000 odd authorised boilers in the country, there are six inspectors designated to examine them once a year.