Dhaka – The death toll in the packaging plant fire near Bangladeshi capital Dhaka has risen further to 33 with the rescuers pulling out two more bodies from the rubbles of the factory, firefighters said Monday.
The identity of the victims could not be ascertained immediately.
The army, troopers of which joined the rescue efforts Monday morning, said that it was not possible to give a deadline as to when the rescue operation will be ended.
“We will work as many days as we need to complete the operation,” said Colonel Rashedul Hasan at a press conference organised at the accident site in Tongi.
The cause of the explosion that triggered the devastating fire could not be determined yet, said the army officer adding that the matter was still being investigated.
“Once we come to know the reasons, we will make it public,” said Hasan. He said a limited scale operation will be continued on the day of Eid-al-Adha, the celebration of Muslim religious festival. Bangladeshi Muslims will celebrate the day on Tuesday.
The army was called in for the rescue operation after the firefighters doused the blaze at the factory of Tampaco Foils Ltd that produces packets for tobacco, chocolate and other consumer products, said firefighting officer Akhteruzzaman.
The four-storey factory building, located 20 kilometers north of the capital, collapsed hours after the fire broke out early Saturday.
Rescuers on early Monday pulled out two more bodies from the rubbles brining the death toll to 31, he said adding that the fire at the packaging plant was put out completely late on Sunday night. Two more bodies were found in the rubble later in the day.
Television footages show the rescuers, also from Fire Service and Civil Defence and police department, use heavy cranes and other equipments to pull the rubbles and remove the slabs of the collapsed building.
At least 50 people who were wounded on the day factory caught in fire are undergoing treatment at different hospitals.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the explosion. Officials initially blamed a faulty boiler but investigators are also looking into the possibility of a gas leakage.
The district administration listed 11 factory workers as still missing after the accident, according to officials.
The Tampaco Foils factory produces packaging for tobacco and other consumer products, with British American Tobacco and food giant Nestle among its clients.
Nestle said Sunday it was “shocked and saddened” by the deaths and injuries in the fire. The Swiss firm said its thoughts were with those affected by the tragedy.
Fatalities in Bangladeshi factories – which mostly produce clothing, packaging and textiles – are common due to a lax implementation of regulations.
A fire at Tazreen Fashion factory in late 2012 killed at least 112 workers. More than 1,100 people were killed and 2,500 injured after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building which housed five garment factories in 2013.