At least 49 people have died after a huge fire broke out at a shipping container depot in Bangladesh’s Chittagong last night, officials said today.

The fire at the depot in Sitakunda area has left about 300 people injured and authorities fear the death count may climb.

According to police officer Nurul Alam, posted at Chittagong Medical College Hospital’s police outpost, preliminary probe has indicated that the fire broke out due to chemical reaction.

Local media reported that that fire spread following an explosion. The police officer said that while the fire broke out around 9 pm and the explosion occurred around midnight. Following the blast, the fire spread rapidly.

Istakul Islam, chief of Health and Service Department at Red Crescent Youth Chittagong, said, “Over 450 people have been injured in this incident. The death count could be more,” he said.

According to sources, the explosion was such that window panes of nearby homes were shattered.

Chittagong Fire Service and Civil Defense Assistant Director Md Faruk Hossain Sikdar said: “Around 19 firefighting units are working to douse the fire and six ambulances are also available on the spot.”

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