Firefighters are struggling to bring the massive fire that broke out at the BM Container Depot in Sitakunda upazila of Chattogram on Saturday night under control.
"It has been 12 hours since the fire started. Hydrogen peroxide is the reason why it is taking us so long to douse the blaze," said Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence Director General (DG) Brig Gen Md Main Uddin.
The fire service chief, while addressing the press Sunday morning, said that authorities are yet to get a hold of the owner of the depot as they need specific information regarding the contents inside the establishment.
"We don't know what type of combustible materials are kept in the containers. This is why we needed the depot owner or anyone else from their side as different chemicals behave and react differently " he added.
"Two firefighting units rushed to the scene within five minutes of the incident. After that, some 25 units from 15 stations including Feni, Laxmipur and Cumilla joined the efforts to bring the fire down."
Speaking about the casualties, he said, "According to the information that we have, a total of 18 people died from the fire and explosions. Of them, five were firefighters.
"Besides, around 200 others were injured – 21 of them being fire officials."
The fire service DG feared that the death toll could rise further as most of the victims are in critical condition.
"An army team has been deployed to ensure that the deadly chemicals in the depot do not spread to the sea through the canal," he added.