Sabotage may have caused Dhaka factory fire

Featured - December 19th, 2012
thumb

A government investigation has revealed that Bangladesh’s worst ever industrial fire, which killed 112 people last month, may have been the result of sabotage.

The blaze was allegedly caused by workers at the factory. “Otherwise, how come they locked the gates? How come they asked the workers to go back to work even after the fire alarm?” said Mainnuddin Khandaker, head of the governmental committee investigating told AP.

Three factory officials suspected of locking workers inside the building were arrested days after the fire.

Despite clearing him of involvement in the ignition of the fire, the government committee blamed Delwar Hossain, the factory owner, for the death toll, saying casualties would have been greatly reduced if not for his negligence in workplace safety.

The lack of emergency exits trapped casualties, survivors said, and factory officials told employees to go back to work and locked the gates. Further investigations also found that only three floors of the eight-storey building were built legally and with permission.

“If someone is responsible for such a huge number of deaths, that’s him (the owner). He has failed to ensure safety,” added Mr. Khandaker.

The committee recommended that the government form a “powerful task force” to ensure safety at garment factories across the country.