Sun | Mar 18, 2018

23 dead in factory fire

Published:Sunday | September 11, 2016 | 12:00 AM
A man points towards a packaging factory on fire in Tongi industrial area outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, yesterday.


A boiler exploded and triggered a fire at a packaging factory near Bangladesh's capital yesterday, killing at least 23 workers and injuring dozens.

Fire officials said that the explosion at the five-storey Tampaco Foils Ltd factory in the Tongi industrial area outside Dhaka was huge, and that the fire triggered by the blast spread quickly because flammable chemicals were stored at the factory.

At least six of the 14 people being treated for burns at Dhaka Medical College and Hospital were in critical condition, said a police official at the hospital. He confirmed that at least 23 people had died.

Local TV stations said about 50 people were injured in all. Television footage showed smoke billowing from the factory, with the fire engulfing part of the upper floors.

Factory safety is a major concern in Bangladesh, which has thousands of garment and packaging factories that supply products to global chains like Walmart and H&M.

A fire at a garment factory in a Dhaka suburb killed 112 workers in 2012. In 2013, a commercial complex near Dhaka housing five garment factories collapsed, killing 1,135 people, Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster.

It took firefighters nearly five hours to bring yesterday's blaze under control. Huge piles of burned materials and chemicals had to be removed from the building to prevent the fire from spreading further, officials said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, which occurred at around 6 a.m.

Saturday was the last working day at the factory before the workers were to go on leave for a weeklong holiday for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, which falls on Tuesday.