Bangladesh Factory Fire Kills 112

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 25, 2012 Last Updated: November 26, 2012
Related articles: World » South Asia
Print E-mail to a friend Give feedback

A Bangladeshi fireman examines burnt materials after a fire in the multi-storey Tazreen Fashion near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Nov. 25. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

A Bangladeshi fireman examines burnt materials after a fire in the multi-storey Tazreen Fashion near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Nov. 25. (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

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.”

The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.

  • Labor Rights Forum

    Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement:

    Bangladeshi and international unions and labor rights organizations have initiated an independent fire and building safety program to minimize the risk of future deadly factory fires like those that have recently taken the lives of hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Unlike corporate-controlled monitoring systems, the program will include independent inspections by trained fire safety experts with public reporting of the results. Brands will be required to offer supplier contracts with sufficient financing and adequate pricing to allow for necessary renovations and other preventative measures. Brands will also be required to cease doing business with any supplier that refuses to make needed repairs and operate safely. To effectively implement the program, there will be a central role for workers and unions and a binding contract to make the commitments enforceable. Currently, PVH Corp. (owner of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) and major German retailer Tchibo have signed onto the agreement. Thus far, other major buyers from Bangladesh including Walmart, Gap and H&M have failed to join the program. Labor rights groups are calling on these brands to join the independent Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement to protect the lives of the workers who make their clothing.


Selected Topics from The Epoch Times

Consummate Traveler