Bangladesh garment industry

At least 10 killed in Bangladesh garment factory fire

Fire broke out at Aswad garment factory in Gazipur outside Dhaka

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 10:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 3:58pm

A fire at a garment factory outside Bangladesh’s capital killed at least 10 people and spread to other buildings, fire officials said.

Ten bodies were found inside the Aswad garment factory in Gazipur outside Dhaka, said fire official Zafar Ahmed. He said several other people were injured while trying to escape from the building on Tuesday night.

Local journalist Iqbal Ahmed said from the scene that the factory had been closed for the day but some employees were working overtime when the fire started.

Farhaduzzaman, another fire official, said the fire spread to two nearby buildings that also housed garment factories belonging to the Palmal Group of Industries. He said firefighters were still working to bring the blaze under control in one of those buildings. He could not immediately say whether any people were trapped.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Harsh and often unsafe working conditions exist in Bangladesh’s garment industry, where numerous fatal accidents have occurred. The collapse of an eight-story factory building in April killed more than 1,100 people, and a fire last November killed 112 workers.

Bangladesh earns $20 billion a year from garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe. The sector employs about 4 million workers, mostly women.

Authorities in Bangladesh and global clothing companies have pledged to improve safety standards.