Seven killed in Bangladesh factory fire

Months after a factory collapse exposed industry conditions

Seven people have been killed at a Bangladesh factory. Workers were making clothes for big labels including Next, Gap and H&M. Police have said that the fire was so severe that most of the bodies recovered were too badly burned to be identified.

Fire-fighters fought through the night to douse the flames at the Aswad Knit Composite factory  on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka. The fire was eventually put out by early Wednesday but parts of the two-storey building were still smouldering.

The factory fire comes around six months after a factory building collapse killed 1,100 people and exposed the harsh and often unsafe conditions in the industry.

Workers said the fire, which broke out on Tuesday October 7th evening, appeared to have been started by a malfunctioning knitting machine which had caught fire on a number of previous occasions. Earlier police and fire officials said the blaze started in a boiler.

Mohammad Abu Saan, a factory worker, said: "There have been quite a few small fires in the machine recently, but we managed to douse them. This time it was big."


Police Chief, Amir Hossain, said seven bodies had been recovered after a thorough search of the building. He said: "Two bodies have been identified and handed over to their relatives. Five other bodies were charred beyond recognition."

Fire service Director, Mahbubur Rahman, said the blaze spread because emergency services took more than an hour to reach the site. He said: "There is no fire station within an 18 mile (30km) radius of the factory."

Safety standards at Bangladesh’s garment factories have shocked the world in the past year. Fires such as this one are a reality for many factory workers. 

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