DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A fire Tuesday night at a garment factory outside Bangladesh’s capital has killed at least 10 people, an official said.
Fire official Zafar Ahmed said 10 bodies were found inside the Aswad garment factory in Gazipur outside Dhaka. He said several other people were injured while trying to escape from the building.
Local journalist Iqbal Ahmed said from the scene that the fire occurred when the factory was closed for the day, but some employees were still inside working overtime.
Farhaduzzaman, another fire official, said the fire spread to two nearby buildings that also housed garment factories belonging to the Palmal Group of Industries. He said firefighters had doused the flames in two of the buildings and were seeking to bring the blaze under control in the third building. He could not immediately say whether any people were still trapped inside.
The cause of the latest fire was not immediately clear, but reports said it broke out at a knitting section of Aswad Composite Mills, Reports quoted officials saying water shortages and a lack of nearby fire stations had allowed the blaze to escalate.
“It’s a massive fire. Ten fire brigade teams are working to put it out,” local police chief Amir Hossain told Agence France-Presse.
Although most members of a reported workforce of 3,000 had left the building for the day, a number of people were said to have been working overtime.
“We could not control the fire. It has been raging for more than six hours,” local fire chief M Akteruzzaman told AFP.
“There is an acute shortage of water in the area, which makes the job to control the fire very difficult.” Police officer Ameer Hossain told the Daily Star in Bangladesh that nine bodies had been recovered. Other accounts put the toll at 10.
Clothing makes up around three-quarters of Bangladesh’s total exports, and the factory collapse prompted protests and calls for improved safety measures. Dozens of international retailers agreed a plan last July to conduct inspections at factories from which their goods were sourced.