At least 52 people have been killed, 20 injured and many more fear they may be trapped after a massive fire raged at a juice factory in Bangladesh, officials said on Friday, the latest fire accident. industrialist in the country.
The fire broke out on Thursday evening on the ground floor of a six-story factory building in the Narayanganj district, 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of the capital Dhaka, run by the private company Hashem Food and Beverage, which is a unit of the Bangladeshi multinational Sajeeb Group. The factory produces mango drinks under the Shezan brand.
“Three people have died jumping from the building to escape the blaze and 49 charred bodies have been found so far,” Narayanganj district administrator Mustain Billah told Reuters by phone from the scene.
“It’s still burning on the top floor. Firefighters are having a hard time controlling it, as chemicals and flammable materials were stored inside the building.”
He said the cause of the fire is not yet known. “The plastics, flammables and chemicals all made it difficult to put out the fire,” said Abdullah Al Arefin, a district fire service official, adding that the intense heat from the blaze had caused cracks in the building.
Al Arefin said each floor of the building is about 35,000 square feet (3,250 square meters), but they were only accessible by two stairs and many workers could not get out as the fire broke out. spread to the stairs.
One of the doors leading from the stairs to the roof was locked, he said.
“We rescued 25 people after installing a ladder on the roof. We could have saved more if others had been able to reach the roof,” said Debashish Bardhan, deputy director of the national fire service.
Where is my son?
Many workers were injured trying to jump from the second and third floors of the building to escape, said Shah Alam, another district fire official.
Hashem Foods and Sajeeb Group officials did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
As relatives of the missing organized protests around the factory site, a mother searching for her son, Nazma Begum, cried out: “There is no justice! Where is my son?
Narayanganj in central Bangladesh is full of factories making everything from jute to textiles.
Disasters from fires and poor building safety standards are common in Bangladesh, mainly in the textile sector which employs millions of people and contributes the most to its economy.
Industry officials have pledged better safety standards after the 2012 Rana Plaza garment factory building in Dhaka collapsed, killing more than 1,000 workers and injuring hundreds. But many factories inside and outside the textile sector still fail, leading to accidents every year.
The Narayanganj District Administration has formed a five-member investigative committee to look into the incident, Al Arefin said.