Dozens killed in Bangladesh factory fire

Published : July 09, 2021 19:23 IST

The fire broke out at a factory named Hashem Foods. Photo: Mohammad Ponir Hossain / Reuters

At least 52 people were reported dead as a massive blaze broke out in a food processing factory on the outskirts of Dhaka.

A food processing factory in Bangladesh was still in flames on July 9, nearly 24 hours after a fire broke out, according to media reports. The death toll was at 52, police said. Dozens were injured in the factory blaze in Rupganj, nearly 25 kilometers (16 miles) east of the capital Dhaka.

Police had earlier reported three deaths, including two female workers who died after they jumped from the third floor. The death toll rose sharply after firefighters started recovering dozens of bodies of trapped workers from the factory's upper floors.

Locked gates

Survivors told local broadcasters that they broke open a padlocked gate to escape the fire when they heard the alarm. They said hundreds of employees were inside when the blaze broke out. Some of the injured workers jumped from the factory's roof to escape the blaze, police inspector Sheikh Kabirul Islam told AFP. Emergency crews rescued 12 workers trapped on the second and third floors of the building, said Zayedul Alam, chief of the district police. Firefighters also rescued 25 people from the roof, according to AFP. The reason for the fire was still unclear.

Fires devastate Bangladesh

The fire was the latest unfortunate event in Bangladesh's history of tragic industrial disasters. In a similar incident, at least 112 people were killed in a garment factory fire on the outskirts of Dhaka in 2012 as the workers were trapped behind the factory's locked gates. Earlier this year, a fire destroyed shelters in a Cox's Bazar refugee camp housing Rohingya Muslims.

In February 2019, a fire in a centuries-old cramped neighborhood in Dhaka killed at least 70 people. In the same year, more than 25 people died in a multistory commercial building fire.

fb/sms (AFP, AP, dpa)

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