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Monday, November 26, 2012

major fire loss at Dhaka - property damaged and more than 100 dead

Of late, have been hearing of many fire losses ~ this one, though occurring in a different Country, is more intense – as the loss of life is very high !

Going by the reports in various newspapers,  124 people are reported to have been killed in the multi-storey garment factory on the outskirts in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The report states that fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions factory in suburban Ashulia Savar, 30 km from Dhaka, on 24.11.2012 and quickly spread to the  ground and first floors of the six-storey building, according to officials and witnesses.  Sadly there are reports of more bodies being recovered and most of the bodies were found to be  severely charred. Fire service officials earlier said several workers of the factory were trapped inside and took shelter on the rooftop of the structure awaiting rescuers.  Hours after the blaze, efforts were still  underway to extinguish the blaze with authorities mobilising several fire fighting units. Television footage showed army troops and fire service rescuers bringing out bodies one after another from the debris as hundreds of people, including relatives of the victims, waited outside.

Reports put that Bangladesh has some 4,000 garment factories, many without proper safety measures. The country  earns some useful foreign exchange through garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe.   The blaze broke out late on Saturday 24th Nov. 12  in the multi-floor Tazreen Fashion factory in the Ashulia district on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka.  It feared to be the deadliest factory fire in the nation's history.  Opened in 2009, the Tazreen Fashion factory, part of Tuba group, employed 1,630 workers, who produced T-shirts, polo shirts, and jackets.

While many got trapped inside, Some people died after jumping from the building to escape the flames. It is unclear what caused the fire, which started on the ground floor trapping many victims in the factory. Officials suspect an electrical short circuit might have caused the disaster. Firefighters managed to contain the blaze on Sunday morning.  It is stated that fatal  fires are common in Bangladesh's large garment manufacturing sector,  and some reports speak of   the likelihood of Western companies to renew pressure on the local businesses to improve safety.

In the sad accident, thousands of people flocked to the factory frantically looking for their relatives. The factory is situated deep inside a small lane and fire service vehicles struggled to get through. All the windows are smeared with black smoke. Many workers jumped to their deaths as the fire raged on. The incident has shocked the entire neighbourhood, which is home to hundreds of factories making clothes for major Western brands and retailers like Walmart, Gap, Tesco and Sainsburys.

The factory owner denied the allegations that the building was unsafe to work in.  Its owner is quoted as stating - "It is a huge loss for my staff and my factory. This is the first time we have ever had a fire at one of my seven factories,".  Lax safety standards, poor wiring and overcrowding are blamed for causing several deadly factory fires every year.

Sad that human life is not given the due regard and even after repeated incidents, nothing much happen to improve the safety.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
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