Bangladesh factory fire: three dead, 30 injured

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Jul 9, 2021

At least three people were killed and around 30 were injured, police said on Friday in a fire that broke out at a factory in Bangladesh, where workers had to jump out of windows to escape the blaze.

It is not immediately known how many people were in the burning building. But families gathered in the vicinity said they feared the toll would be much heavier.

The building in flames. – AFP

Fires are relatively frequent in Bangladesh due to lack of compliance with safety standards.

Police and witnesses reported that the fire started around 5:00 p.m. (11:00 GMT) on Thursday at the Hashem Food and Beverage factory, which occupies a six-story building in Rupganj, an industrial town near Dhaka, and was still raging on Friday. morning.

“Three people died after being seriously burned,” Jayedul Alam, the regional police chief, told AFP.

At least 30 others were injured, including some who had thrown themselves from windows on higher floors as the flames rapidly escalated, police inspector Sheikh Kabirul Islam said.

The police initially reported dozens of workers missing before going back on their claims, admitting that they did not know the number of people missing.

Firefighters rescued 25 people on the roof of the building but were unable to quantify the toll. “Once the fire is contained, we will launch an operation to search for survivors inside,” said Debashish Bardhan, spokesman for the fire department.

Mohammad Saiful, a worker who escaped the flames, claimed that the factory contained dozens of workers. “On the third floor, the doors to the stairs were closed. Colleagues say there were 48 people inside. I don’t know what happened to them,” he said.

Mamun, another worker, said he and 13 others ran to the roof when the fire broke out on the ground floor, flooding the whole building with thick black smoke. “The firefighters made us go down with a rope,” he said.

Fires and building collapses are frequent in Bangladesh, a poor country in South Asia, especially in its large textile industry, due to frequent non-compliance with safety measures and standards.

At least 70 people were killed in February 2019 in a massive fire that ravaged apartment buildings in Dhaka, where chemicals were illegally stored.

In April 2013, the Rana Plaza garment workshop collapsed like a house of cards, killing at least 1,138 workers. This drama had aroused a worldwide stir.

Rupganj (Bangladesh), 9 July 2021 (AFP)

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