Tell the firefighters
05 June 2022 18:53:02
Jun 05, 2022 10:46:41 p.m.
The BM Container Depot, ground zero of the devastating fire that killed dozens, stores chemicals in containers as part of its normal business activity.
Among these stores are several blue pots. Some broken jars are labeled hydrogen peroxide, with the chemical formula H2O2.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, hydrogen peroxide is unstable and nonflammable, but can promote combustion because it generates a significant amount of oxygen when it breaks down.
Firefighters believe the chemical may be responsible for the inferno that began Saturday night and left at least 41 people dead, bdnews24.com reports.
Fire department officials say they weren’t notified of the chemicals in the depot and still don’t have confirmation on what chemicals were used.
Anisur Rahman, deputy director of the Chattogram Division Fire Department, said officials at the private depot have yet to confirm the types of chemical agents stored inside. Firefighters first applied water to put out the fire, as they do most of the time, he said.
“We certainly would have taken a different approach had we been made aware of the presence of chemical agents in the repository,” Anisur said.
The worldwide standard protocol for extinguishing a chemical fire, commonly referred to as a Class B fire, is to apply inorganic fire extinguishing foams.
Reporters on the ground spotted several plastic canisters, commonly used for chemical storage, with a hydrogen peroxide label in the area surrounding the depot.
Joint Secretary Md Naid Ali, currently Chief Explosives Inspector of the Explosives Directorate, a wing under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, said hydrogen peroxide is not not yet registered as a combustible chemical by management.
The labels also warn of the flammability of the chemical agent and state that these boxes belong to Al-Razi Chemical Complex Ltd.
A quick check of the company’s website reveals that the site has been suspended.
However, the company’s LinkedIn page is still active, confirming that it is a Chattogram-based company with its office in Fateyabad district and a factory in Hathazari Upazila district.
The page also confirms that the company is producing 150 total dispensing points, or TPDs, of hydrogen peroxide at 0-60% concentration per day at this time.
Mujibur Rahman, an official of Al-Razi Chemical, who is also the director of the depot, said, “These chemical agents have been stored at the depot for export.”
When contacted, retired Deputy Inspector General of Prisons (DIG-Prisons), Major Shamsul Haider Siddique, who worked as the plant’s administrative general manager, said he had not yet confirmed the status of the product. chemical in the deposit.
“I don’t know if they were stored properly or if some were expired. I have asked my staff to inform me of the current status of the chemical agents stored in the repository. As soon as I have information, I will inform the media,” he said.
“We cannot restore the lives of all the people who have lost theirs, but the company is prepared to pay the medical costs of the injured.”
Dr Mohammad Abul Hossain, a professor in the department of chemistry at the University of Dhaka, said several factors must be taken into consideration when determining whether or not the stored hydrogen peroxide will explode at any given time.
“The factors are how the chemical agent was stored, what was stored next to it, how long it was stored,” he said.
Sunanda Rani Barman, a chemist with a multinational chemical laboratory called Intertek, said combustion of hydrogen peroxide can take place if it comes in contact with fire.
“Hydrogen peroxide is a highly reactive chemical agent, which begins to react as soon as it comes into contact with a metal. It should be stored in an area with adequate ventilation capacity to keep it safe,” she said.