Another deadly incident struck Bangladesh’s export garment industry late on Wednesday night, when a fire swept through a factory, killing at least eight people, including top managers, according to news media reports.
The fire at the Tung Hai Sweater Factory in the Mirpur district of Dhaka, the capital, is again raising questions about the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh, which is now the world’s second-largest exporter of clothing after China. Bangladesh is still reeling from the collapse two weeks ago of the Rana Plaza complex, a disaster that so far has claimed at least 892 lives — most of them workers at five garment factories operating in the building.
For years, fire safety has been a problem in Bangladesh’s garment factories. Labor rights groups say several hundred garment workers have died in previous factory fires during the past decade. Last year, at least 112 people were killed in a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory, which was making clothing for global retailers like Walmart and Sears.
The fire at the Tung Hai factory seems to be a much more contained occurrence. Bangladeshi news media reported that the factory was closed when the blaze erupted at 11 p.m. but that the company’s managing director and other executives were holding a late-night meeting with a top police official on an upper floor of the 11-story building.
The online news Web site bdnews24.com reported that the victims included the police deputy inspector general, Z. M. Monzur Morshed, as well as the factory’s managing director, Mahbubur Rahman. Mr. Rahman was also a director of the country’s most powerful industry trade group, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
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