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Square Pharma fire safety system was ‘inadequate’, official says

  • Gazipur Correspondent,
    Published: 2022-05-24 20:52:41 BdST


The fire safety system at the Square Pharmaceuticals factory in Gazipur was “inadequate”, an official of the Fire Service and Civil Defence has said after an incident at the factory.

The fire service continued operations on Tuesday after 19 engines brought the blaze under control on Monday following a seven-hour effort.

"The factory did not have adequate fire-fighting system or equipment of its own. What was there was half of what was needed,” said Dinomoni Sharma, a deputy director at the Fire Service headquarters.

However, Md Faridul Islam, a human resource executive of the factory, claimed the pharmaceutical factory does not need as many fire extinguishers as a garment factory needs.

"Because the manpower and the environment of a pharmaceutical factory are different from those of a garment factory. Fire service officials may have mixed up the environment and management of both types of factories,” Faridul added.

But according to Dinomoni, any industrial unit is supposed to have one extinguisher for every 550 sq ft space. “They [Square officials] know very well how many such equipment they have in that 70,000 sq ft factory.”

Lt Col Md Rezaul Karim, an acting director at the Fire Service, told reporters on Monday after the fire had been brought under control, “The fire broke out in the large volume parental unit of the factory. The main challenge in dousing the fire was the huge size of the factory”.

“Renovation and welding work were ongoing in the multi-storey building of the factory of about 6,000 to 7,000 sq ft. I came to know through the locals that the fire may have started from there,” he added.

Rezaul said the fire burnt materials and chemicals for making saline and tablets. “It was a large building with a very narrow entrance from all sides. We [fire service units] had to break the steel and glass partitions to go inside and were very quick to put out the fire.”

The Fire Service and Civil Defence’s warehouse inspector Saiful Islam said firefighters of one unit of Kaliakoir station and one unit of Mirzapur station were on standby at the scene.

"The fire damaged most of the steel-made four-storey building. The steel structures in the middle of all the floors of the building took the shape of 'V'”.