At Least 30 Dead in Fire at Indonesia Matchstick Factory

June 21, 2019 Updated: June 21, 2019

JAKARTA—At least 30 people died on Friday after a fire swept through a small factory producing matchsticks in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, authorities said.

The blaze broke out at midday in the makeshift facility located in a residential area, killing 27 adults and three children, said Riadil Akhir Lubis, head of the provincial disaster mitigation agency.

Police officers examine a house used as a factory producing matchsticks after a fire swept through, at Binjai district in Langkat, North Sumatra province, Indonesia, on June 21, 2019. (Antara Foto. Antara Foto/ via Reuters)

Police are investigating the cause of the fire, he said.

“(The children) were probably not workers. Their parents, who lived nearby, brought them to work,” said Irwan Syahri, head of the local disaster agency, told Metro TV.

A video circulated on social media showed emergency workers inspecting the site and what appeared to be charred bodies in the smouldering ruins.

Locals look at a house used as a factory
Locals look at a house used as a factory producing matchsticks after a fire swept through, at Binjai district in Langkat, North Sumatra province, Indonesia, on June 21, 2019. (Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Adiva Niki/ via Reuters)

Indonesia has a patchy industrial safety record. In 2017, a series of explosions and a fire killed 47 workers and injured dozens at a fireworks factory on the outskirts of Jakarta.

By Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Fransiska Nangoy

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