Bangladesh's worst-ever factory blaze kills over 100

Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:30am EST
 

By Anis Ahmed and Ruma Paul

DHAKA (Reuters) - Fire swept through a garment factory on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital killing more than 100 people, the fire brigade said on Sunday, in the country's worst-ever factory blaze.

Working conditions at Bangladeshi factories are notoriously poor, with little enforcement of safety laws, and overcrowding and locked fire doors are common. The cause of this fire was not immediately known.

The blaze at the nine-storey Tazreen Fashion factory in the Ashulia industrial belt of Dhaka started on the ground floor late on Saturday and spread, trapping hundreds of workers.

"So far, the confirmed death toll is 109, including nine who died by jumping from the building," Mizanur Rahman, deputy director of the fire brigade, told Reuters.

Witnesses said the workers, mostly women, ran for safety as the fire engulfed the plant but were unable to get through narrow exits.

"Many jumped out from the windows and were injured, or died on the spot," Milon, a resident, said.

Most of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition and authorities had started burials while mourning relatives scrambled to find their loved ones, officials and witnesses said.

Unofficial sources put the number of dead at more than 120. Most of the bodies were found on the second floor, Rahman said.   Continued...

 
Members of the police inspect the burnt interior of a garment factory after a fire in Savar November 25, 2012.  REUTERS/Andrew Biraj