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Massive fire at Bangladesh juice factory kills 52 people – IHUB Partner Press Releases

The Bangladesh fire at the Tampaco Foils factory in 2016 is part of Bamgladesh’s long history with factory fires.
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A fire engulfed a food and beverage factory outside Bangladesh’s capital, killing at least 52 people, many of whom were trapped inside by an illegally locked door, fire officials said Friday.

According to CBC Canada, the fire began Thursday night at the five-story Hashem Foods Ltd. factory in Rupganj, just outside Dhaka. Police initially gave the death toll as three people, however, piles of bodies were discovered on Friday afternoon after the fire was extinguished.

So far, 52 bodies have been discovered, but the top two floors of the factory have not been searched yet, Debashis Bardhan, deputy director of the fire service and civil defense said.

Bardhan also said that the main exit out of the factory was locked from the inside, preventing people from exiting, essentially trapping them. As for how many people were working and how many are missing – there is no immediate answer.

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According to the Associated Press, many workers on the upper floors of the factory jumped out of windows to escape the fire and at least 26 suffered injuries, the United News of Bangladesh agency reported.

Bangladesh has a history of industrial disasters

Besides its history of factory fires with people locked inside, continuing corruption, and very little enforcement of labor laws in the country has only added to the number of factory-worker deaths.

And quite a few big international brands employ thousands of low-paid workers, and there is a seemingly endless supply of people willing to work for next to nothing. These big companies have been under pressure to improve factory conditions after fires and other disasters killed thousands of people.

The factory that burned down belonged to a subsidiary of Sajeeb Group, a Bangladeshi company that produces juice under Pakistan’s Lahore-based Shezan International Ltd., said Kazi Abdur Rahman, the group’s senior general manager for export.

According to the group’s website, the company exports its products to a number of countries including Australia, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and nations in the Middle East and Africa.

Rahman told The Associated Press by phone that the company is fully compliant with international standards, but he was not certain whether the exit of the factory was locked. According to Bangladesh’s factory laws, a factory cannot lock its exit when workers are inside during production hours.

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