Bangladesh fire tragedy toll may go up, 11 missing

Bangladeshi factory that claimed at least 25 lives may go up with authorities today listing 11 people missing.

Published: 11th September 2016 06:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2016 06:43 PM   |  A+A-


DHAKA: The death toll in the fire tragedy at a Bangladeshi factory that claimed at least 25 lives may go up with authorities today listing 11 people missing in the latest industrial accident to hit the country.

The fire yesterday broke out following a powerful boiler explosion at the four-storey Tempako Packaging Factory in Tongi industrial area, north of the capital Dhaka.

Eleven people still remained missing based on information from their relatives, said Fatema-Tuz-Zohra, an official of the control room that the Gazipur administration has opened.

About 100 people were inside the food and cigarette packaging unit when the explosion occurred and the fire spread quickly because of flammable chemicals stored in the building.

More than 24 hours after the tragedy, several relatives of the people missing in the accident gathered in front of the unit part of which was reduced to ashes yesterday.

Industrious Minister Amir Hossain Amu said that Bangladesh government will take strong action against anyone found guilty of negligence.

"The matter is being investigated and steps will be taken if anyone is found guilty," Amu told reporters after visiting the site today.

He said his ministry has decided to launch an investigation in all factories to check out their equipment.

"We have instructed to check for leakages, electrical malfunction and the boilers."

Low-cost manufacturing is the mainstay in Bangladesh, one of the world's top garment exporters with a USD 27-billion industry. But a series of industrial disasters in recent years have raised questions about its safety standards.

Tighter controls have been introduced, but dozens of workers still die every year.

At least 13 people died in a fire at a plastic factory in Dhaka last year. In 2012, 112 workers died in a fire at a factory just outside the capital.

The country suffered an even greater tragedy in 2013 when the Rana Plaza garment complex collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing 1,135 people, after another clothing factory building collapsed, trapping over 3,000 workers.

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