A deadly fire that broke out late on Tuesday night in a clothing factory near Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka resulted in the death of at least 10 people, emergency officials told the media.
The cause of the fire at the Aswad Composite Mills, which is located in Gazipur, about 30 miles outside Dhaka, is not immediately known. But it is believed that the fire broke out in the knitting section of the factory.
"I found out that the fire started from a [textile] machine," BBC quoted a man who had come to the site to find his uncle as saying. "When the silencer of the machine exploded, the fire spread and the factory caught fire.Immediately after the fire many people ran out of the factory but a few could not get out."
Gazipur's firefighting chief, Abu Zafar Ahmed, told Reuters that the deceased included three managers of the Aswad Mills factory, which is a sister concern of the Palmal Group of Industries.
Factory Director Emdad Hossain told the Daily Star, a Bangladeshi publication, that 170 workers were inside the factory when the fire broke out, and a majority of them managed to immediately exit the building.
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BBC, citing local media, reported that 50 people are believed to have been injured in the fire, and the unavailability of fire stations nearby, and water shortage, caused the blaze to escalate and continue for hours.
The blaze was finally brought under control on Wednesday after firefighters toiled for 10 hours, Associated Press reported. District administrator Dilruba Khanom told the media that the death toll is expected to rise as emergency services had not completed their search.
"They have managed to control the fire in most parts of the factory, but the warehouse is still burning," Khanom said. "The bodies are charred beyond recognition."
This incident has once again highlighted the poor safety standards in Bangladesh’s garment sector, which employs about 4 million workers, especially women, according to AP, and is a mainstay of the country's export-oriented economy. In April, more than 1,100 people died and 2,500 were injured when a garment factory building in Ashulia district outside Dhaka collapsed. Last November, yet another factory fire in an eight-story garment factory in Ashulia claimed the lives of at least 120 people.