52 killed in fire at Bangladesh juice factory

Debasish Bardhan, deputy director of fire services and civil defence, said the fire broke out on the ground floor of the six-storey Hashem Foods Ltd factory in Roopganj, east of the capital Dhaka, on Thursday afternoon.

The official Bangladesh Sangbad Organization news agency reported that the presence of chemicals and flammable materials such as polythene and clarified butter contributed to the fire at the factory, and made it more difficult to bring under control.

Firefighters are working to douse the fire that broke out at the factory on Friday.

The BSS quoted Abdul Al Arifin, deputy director of the Narayanganj district of fire service and civil defence, as saying that three people were killed after jumping off the roof on Thursday after being engulfed in flames. The BSS, citing Director of Fire Services and Civil Defense Lt Col Zillur Rahman, said almost none of the bodies recovered on Friday could be identified.

Al Arifin said that each floor of the building was approximately 35,000 square feet (3,250 sq m), but was accessible only by two stairs, meaning that many workers could not get out as the fire spread to the stairs, while One of the doors led to the door. The roof stairs were locked, Reuters reported.

Officials said 25 people were rescued from the building. At least 50 people were injured in the fire, mostly factory workers and workers.

The fire was brought under control by Friday afternoon and relatives of the missing workers were protesting outside and around the factory premises, BSS said.

Firefighters recover the remains of a victim.

The Narayanganj district administration has set up a five-member inquiry committee to probe the incident, Reuters reported, citing Al Arifin.

In 2013, more than 1,000 people were killed when The entire factory of garment collapsed in Bangladesh’s capital, bringing in safety standards for the country’s factory workers – a high proportion of whom work apparel industry – in the headlines.
Nearly 200 brands and over 1,600 factories signed a settlement Promoting a safe work environment for workers after the incident.

But still, fires and accidents can be common in factories in South Asia, many of which operate illegally and without building adequate fire and safety standards.


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