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Bangladesh garment factory fire: Was emergency exit locked?

Last Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 - 12:04

Zeenews Bureau

Dhaka: After seven women were killed in a garment factory fire, Bangladesh has ordered an investigation into the fire with allegations claiming that the only emergency exit door in the factory was locked.

Smart Export Garment Ltd. factory in Mohammadpur district of Bangladeshi capital Dhaka witnessed a fire tragedy on Saturday when about 250 workers were working at the factory that makes pants and shirts.

Though the actual cause of fire is not yet clear, reports say that investigation has been ordered into the cause of Saturday`s fire and allegations that there have been allegations that the emergency exit was locked when the accident took place.

"When I tried to escape through the emergency exit I found the gate locked," factory worker Raushan Ara was quoted as saying by Dhaka`s Prothom Alo newspaper.

The newspaper said at least 50 people were injured in a stampede triggered by the fire, and six of them were hospitalized.

Most of the deaths at the two-storey factory were caused by asphyxiation, said the doctors.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Monzurul Kabir said the bodies of seven women were recovered from the top floor of the factory. He said the factory was making pants and shirts, but could not provide further details.

Fire official Abdul Halim said it took firefighters about two hours to bring the blaze under control.

The accident came just two months after a blaze at the Tazreen Fashions factory left 112 dead in November.

The frequent garment factory fires in Bangladesh have raised a question mark on the safety of garment industries in Bangladesh.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. alerted its global suppliers that it will immediately drop them if they subcontract their work to factories that haven`t been authorized by the discounter.

The stricter contracting rule, along with other changes to its policy, come amid increasing calls for better safety oversight after the deadly fire in late November at a factory owned by Tazreen Fashions Ltd. that supplied clothing to Wal-Mart and other retailers. Wal-Mart has said the factory wasn`t authorized to make its clothes.

With Agency Inputs

First Published: Monday, January 28, 2013 - 12:03
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