April 18, 2024, 2:09 pm

Staff Correspondent

2024-03-05 12:26:37 BdST

$60-70m sugar destroyed in S Alam warehouse fire in Ctg

A fire that erupted at a warehouse belonging to S Alam Refined Sugar Industries Ltd in Ichanagar in the port city of Chattogram on Monday afternoon resulted in the destruction of raw sugar valued at $60-$70 million.

S Alam Group Executive Director Subrata Kumar Bhoumick said on Monday night that the fire originated at warehouse-1, which housed one lakh tonnes of raw sugar.

He stated that the purchasing cost of the raw sugar averaged between $600 and $700 per tonne.

“There were two lakh tonnes of raw sugar at several warehouses and more on vessels in the river,” he said, adding that only S Alam and City Group store the raw sugar in the country.

Subrata Kumar said two units of the factory have a total production capacity of 2,500 tonnes per day. Some 1,200 workers work at the factory in three shifts and some 400 of them were working during the fire incident. The production at the factory continued to meet the demands for the upcoming Ramadan season.

The ED also said the workers were working during the fire incident and despite having firefighting equipment, they could not bring the fire under control.

Asked whether the accident will disrupt supply of the sugar ahead of the Ramadan, he said, “It is now our challenge to save the factory from the fire. If the factory runs, the supply will not face shortfall.”

Mohammad Hossain, the manager of HR at S Alam Group, said, “A fire sparked off an electric short-circuit and spread through the entire warehouse. All the raw materials and other items reduced to ashes in the fire.”

“We are trying to save the factory and finished goods. If the fire spreads to the factory, it will not be possible to supply sugar in the next six months,” he added.

Sources in the Fire Service and Civil Defence (DSCD) said the fire broke out at around 4pm and spread fast engulfing the entire warehouse within a very short time.

On information, 12 firefighting units from different fire stations, including Patiya, Kalurghat and Agrabad, rushed to the spot and they were trying to extinguish the fire till filing of the report at 10:00pm. A team from the Bangladesh Navy also joined the firefighters in the evening.

Witnesses said the fire originated from inside the warehouse.

The flames of the devastating fire and black smoke emanating from it were being spotted from the port city, on the other bank of the River Karnaphuli.

As the sugar factory is adjoining the warehouse, the firefighters were trying to bring the blaze under control to ward off any accident further.

However, no casualty was reported till filing of the report.

FSCD Assistant Director Md Abdul Malek said it will take time to douse the fire as raw materials are stored there.

A total of 12 firefighting units were working at the spot, he said, adding that the cause behind the fire could not be ascertained immediately.

Earlier on Friday, a devastating fire burned down a newly built cold storage in the port city’s Bakalia area.

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