AT LEAST 49 people have died in a fire at a container depot in Sitakunda, Bangladesh, near the country’s main port of Chittagong.

Footage has been released of smoke billowing from stacks of burned-out containers, along with images of of firefighters working to contain the blaze.

It is understood the fire broke out on the night of Saturday 4 June at the BM Inland Container Depot following explosions in a container full of chemicals.

The BM Inland Container Depot is a Dutch-Bangladesh joint venture and reportedly one of the largest inland container facilities in the country.

A report from Reuters said containers believed to be filled with chemicals were still exploding on Sunday as the fire continued to spread.

ADVERTISEMENT

The initial blast had reportedly shattered windows in nearby buildings and was felt as far as four kilometres away from the facility.

In addition to the 49 people reported dead, more than 200 were injured, and the death toll could rise as rescue operations are still underway and some of those injured are in critical condition.

A report from AP suggested nine firefighters were among the dead, and explosives experts from Bangladesh’s military have been called in to assist the firefighters.

According to Reuters, it was not immediately clear what caused the blaze. Fire service officials told the news service they suspected it originated in a container of hydrogen peroxide and had spread to other containers.

Various media reports on the incident have drawn attention to previous industrial disasters in Bangladesh, such as deadly factory fires and the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in 2013 which killed more than 1100 people.

AP noted monitoring groups have blamed corruption and lax enforcement.