More than 100 killed in Bangladesh factory fire

Monday 26 November 2012 11.18
Bangladeshi people and firefighters trying to extinguish the fire
Bangladeshi people and firefighters trying to extinguish the fire

More than 100 people have died in a fire at a clothes factory on the outskirts of Dhaka in Bangladesh.

The fire at the nine-story building started on the ground floor and spread quickly trapping hundreds of workers.

It is understood 12 people who had suffered injuries after jumping from the building to escape the fire later died.

The number of dead could rise as the search for victims continues.

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

The blaze at the Tazreen Fashion factory in the Ashulia industrial belt started on the ground floor before quickly spreading.

"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.

Unofficial sources put the number of dead at more than 120, saying the toll may be higher. Most of the bodies were found on the second floor, Mr Rahman said.

Bangladesh has around 4,500 garment factories and is the world's biggest exporter of clothing after China, with garments making up 80% of its $24bn annual exports.

This was the highest ever death toll in a Bangladeshi factory fire. In 2006, 84 people were killed in a blaze in the southern port of Chittagong where fire exits had been blocked.

More than 300 factories near the capital shut for almost a week earlier this year as workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions.

Keywords: bangladesh
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