At least 112 people have been confirmed dead in a fire that engulfed a clothes and textile factory near the capital of Bangladesh.
The fire started on Saturday night in a multi-storey Tazreen Fashion factory in the Ashulia industrial area located outside of Dhaka.
“Those who were on the top floors didn’t have a chance,” worker Rina Khatun, who escaped the blaze, told the Wall Street Journal. Khatun was on the ground floor of the facility.
Operations Director Maj. Mohammad Mahbub told The Associated Press that workers who escaped to the roof were rescued.
“The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor,” Mahbub said. “So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building.”
“Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower,” he added.
According to the Journal, Bangladesh has some 5,000 garment factories, many with unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. The garment industry is extremely important to impoverished Bangladesh, providing 80 percent of its exports, providing around $19 billion in earnings in the last financial year.
The clothes are sold to stores including Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Tesco, and others, according to AP.
Workers’ rights champion Nazma Akter, who worked in a factory herself, told the Journal that “many factories” in Bangladesh “don’t have fire escapes and fail to enforce safety regulations.”
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