January 17, 2022

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In Bangladesh, more than fifty people died in the biggest factory fire

July 9, 2021 Rescue workers carry the bodies found at the burnt Hashem Foods factory near Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The flames are still there and the death toll continues to rise. On Friday, July 9, Bangladeshi authorities announced that at least 52 people had been killed and about 30 injured in a massive fire that devastated a factory near the country’s capital, Dhaka.

Police and witnesses said a fire broke out at the Hashem Foods factory on Thursday, July 8 at 5pm (KST at 1pm), which was producing sweets, noodles and fruit juices. Many workers had to jump out of windows to escape the fire.

The total population of the six-storey building in Roopkanj, an industrial city near Dhaka, was not yet known on Friday. Families near the building were waiting for news of their loved ones, which was still engulfed in fire.

Police initially said three people were killed. But as the number continued to rise on Friday afternoon, firefighters were able to reach the highest bases: rescuers found bodies in the building.

Highly flammable chemicals

The cremated bodies were taken by ambulances to the corpses under the eyes of the terrified eyes and witnesses. The police had to disperse hundreds of hundreds to prevent the nearby streets. Police Inspector Sheikh Kabirul Islam said at least 30 people were injured and some of them threw themselves out of windows on the upper floors as the flames progressed rapidly.

Twenty-five people on the roof of the building were rescued by firefighters. “Once the fire is contained, we will begin the search for survivors inside.”Firefighter spokesman Debashish Burton said. Dhaka Fire Department Chief Dinu Moni Sharma said the fire spread quickly due to the presence of highly flammable chemicals and plastics in the factory.

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Mohammed Saiful, a worker who escaped the fire, said the building has dozens of workers. “On the third floor, the access doors to the stairs were closed. Colleagues say there were forty-eight people inside. I don’t know what happened to them. “, he said. Mamun, another worker, said a fire broke out on the ground floor and filled the building with thick black smoke, causing thirteen people to run into a shelter on the roof. “Firefighters let us down with a rope”, he said.

In the fire that broke out at the Hashem Foods factory on Friday, July 9, the flames were still there.

The shock of Rana Plaza

Building fires and landslides are common in Bangladesh, a poor country in South Asia, due to non-compliance with safety measures and standards. In February 2019, At least seventy people died In a major fire that destroyed apartment buildings in Dhaka where chemicals were illegally stored.

In April 2013, the Rana Plaza textile workshop collapsed like a cardboard house, killing at least 1,138 workers. In the aftermath of this tragedy which caused a global stir, the authorities in the textile industry imposed strict safety rules, which are very important in the country. While these factories often comply with new regulations, many industries are less compliant with safety standards.

Read the report: Bangladesh: Ghosts of Rana Plaza

Le Mont with AFP and AP