[Vogue] Bangladesh Clothing Factory Fire Causes Seven Fatalities
SEVEN clothing industry workers were killed and more than 15 injured on Saturday following a fire in a garment factory in Bangladesh. The incident comes only two months after the Tazreen factory fire, which killed 111 employees in Bangladesh.
The latest tragedy took place at the Smart
Export Garment Ltd. factory in Mohammadpur in the western region of Dhaka. The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights reports that the workers were crushed as they tried to escape the burning floor, which is located on the second storey of the building. Rozina Begum - a 20-year-old sewing-machine operator, who survived the incident - said that the fire exit was locked when staff first tried to flee.
"By the time the guards unlocked [the door], smoke had filled the room," she told The Wall Street Journal. "There was a mad rush. I tripped and fell. People were stepping on my body. Then I lost consciousness. Someone must have pulled me out."
All those killed were women and four were teenagers. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but an official from the fire service that dealt with the incident, Bharat Chandra Sarker, said that the factory was working without the mandatory licenses and safety equipment. The factory supplied brands including Bershka and Fox & Scott.
"We didn't see any fire-fighting equipment there," he said. "They didn't have a fire license and so there was no way they could have received a factory license."
The fire has fuelled ongoing discussion that there should be a change in working conditions in clothing factories in the country.
"It is long overdue that Europe's major garment labels stand up to guarantee that Bangladesh's nearly four million garment workers finally have the right to organise an independent union and to bargain collectively," the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights said in a statement, WWD reports.