Bangladesh factory fire kills more than 50
By Salman Saeed, Sophie Jeong and Amy Woodyatt | CNN
At least 52 people were killed when a massive fire ripped through a fruit juice factory in Bangladesh, officials said on Friday.
The fire broke out on Thursday afternoon on the ground floor of a six-story factory owned by Hashem Foods Ltd. in Rupganj, east of the capital Dhaka, said Debashis Bardhan, deputy director of fire and civil defense.
The presence of chemicals and flammable substances like polyethylene and clarified butter contributed to the factory fire and made it more difficult to control, the Bangladesh state-run news agency Sangbad Sangstha reported.
Three people died jumping from the roof on Thursday after being burned by the blaze, BSS reported, citing Abdul Al Arifin, deputy director of fire and civil defense for Narayanganj district. Almost none of the bodies found on Friday could be recognized, BSS reported, citing Director of Fire and Civil Defense Lt. Col. Zillur Rahman.
Al Arifin said each of the floors in the building measured around 35,000 square feet (3,250 square meters) but was only accessible by two staircases, meaning many workers could not get out as the blaze broke out. spread to the stairs, while one of the doors leading from the stairs to the roof were locked, Reuters reported.
Twenty-five people were rescued from the building, officials said. At least 50 people, most of them factory workers and workers, were injured in the blaze.
The blaze was brought under control on Friday afternoon, BSS reported, and relatives of the missing workers were organizing protests outside and around the factory premises.
The Narayanganj District Administration has formed a five-member investigative committee to examine the incident, Reuters reported, citing Al Arifin.
In 2013, more than 1,000 people were killed when an entire garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh’s capital, highlighting safety standards for the country’s factory workers, a large proportion of whom work in the garment industry.
Nearly 200 brands and more than 1,600 factories have signed an agreement promoting safe working environments for workers after the incident.
Nonetheless, fires and accidents can be common in factories in South Asia, many of which operate illegally and without adequate fire and building safety standards.