Bangladesh garment factory fire kills 120

Published: November 25, 2012

This picture taken on 24 November, 2012 shows Bangladeshi people and firefighters trying to extinguish a fire in a garment factory in Savar, 30 kilometres north of Dhaka. PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA: A fire swept through a garment factory on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital, killing at least 120 people, the chief of the fire brigade said on Sunday, in the worst accident for the booming industry in recent years.

The fire at the nine-story factory in the Ashulia industrial belt started on the ground floor late on Saturday and quickly spread, trapping hundreds of workers.

“This morning we have recovered 120 dead bodies and the death toll could rise,” Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, director general of the fire brigade, told reporters.

Bangladesh has around 4,500 garment factories that make clothes for brands including Tesco, Wal-Mart, JC Penney, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s and Carrefour.

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

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

The fire leapt high into the sky and could be seen from miles away.

Bangladesh is the world’s biggest exporter of clothing after China, with garments making up 80% of its $24 billion annual exports.

But safety standards at the factories are poor and not enforced strictly, causing scores of accidents each year.

“We are appalled to see the charred bodies coming out of the factory since last night. It was an endless stream,” Milon said.

Saturday’s fire was the worst in years and rescuers and police said the death count may surpass any previous toll.

Earlier this year, more than 300 factories near the capital were shut for almost a week as workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Jat
    Nov 25, 2012 - 1:01PM

    I hope Bangladesh government thoroughly investigates the cause of fire. The timing is suspect and remember it is a textile factory.

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  • Sajid Iqbal
    Nov 25, 2012 - 2:08PM

    This is so sad. $25 Billion industry shouldn’t be that much careless about security and welfare of their workers. South Asia will never learn.

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  • indian
    Nov 25, 2012 - 2:46PM

    situation reminds me of karachi fire…………but karachi fire diasaster claimed far more lives……..poor souls :(

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  • indian
    Nov 25, 2012 - 3:00PM

    very sad day …..i pray that such incidents dont happen again as it is a terrible setback for bangladesh’s economy …they have a good flourishing industry ….bangladesh is world’s 62 nd largest exporter overtaking pakistan which is at 68…….such accidents can make pakistan overtake bangladesh :(

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  • raj
    Nov 25, 2012 - 3:08PM

    i pray for the well being of the kins of the victims ……..may south asia’s 2 nd largest exporter and world’s 62 nd largest exporter avoid such accidents in future…………..

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  • Reaz Hassan
    Nov 26, 2012 - 8:23AM

    It is the task of the factory inspectorate department of the government to ensure that industrial establishments abide by the Factory rules and regulations as prescribed by law for the welfare and safety of the labor force. It appears certain that a big garments factory like Tazreen Fashion factory within which more than a hundred workers were roasted alive did not have adequate safety and security measures. It lacked adequate and well maintained exit doors, the fire extinguishers within did not work, the practice of mock fire evacuation drills remained an ancient tale. The approach roads to the factory were too narrow and there was scarcity of water supply nearby. The responsibility for the negligence to maintain adequate safety measures has to be borne fully by the officials of the Factory Inspectorate Department and the owner of the enterprise, besides ill luck to some extend. We expect that government will vigorously enforce the existing Factory rules and regulations.

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  • Jat
    Nov 26, 2012 - 4:22PM

    New fire at Bangladesh garment factory, day after deadly blaze
    By Reuters Published: November 26, 2012

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  • Jat
    Nov 26, 2012 - 4:46PM

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