Fire kills three in B’desh textile factory

Dhaka, May 21

A fire in a textile factory in Bangladesh today killed three workers and left five injured, police said, in the latest accident to cast a spotlight on the country’s hazardous garment industry.

A Pakistani technician was among those killed in the blaze in the sprawling complex belonging to fabric manufacturer Mom Tex in Narsingdi.

Police officials said the fire started on ground floor of a seven-storey building where chemicals and dyes were stored, trapping workers who were resting before their shift. “Three workers who were resting near the chemical storage unit have died of suffocation and burns,” Police Inspector Shahidur Rahman told AFP.

“At least five workers were also injured and were rushed to a hospital,” he said.

Firefighters brought blaze under control in around two hours, Narsingdi Police Chief Amena Begum said.

A company official confirmed the deaths to AFP.

“We suspect the electricity short-circuited, causing a fire in the storage room where dyes and paints were kept,” Nazmul Islam, a deputy general manager of Mom Tex, said.

“The workers who were resting in the upper floors died due to suffocation from smoke,” he said.

Fires and other accidents are common in factories that make up the $27-billion garment industry in Bangladesh, world’s second-biggest apparel exporter after China.