Several killed after fire sweeps through Bangladesh factory

At least eight people killed and 33 others critically injured after blaze ripped through plastic factory outside Dhaka.

    Ruma lost her husband Alam, who worked in the plastic factory for five years [Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera]
    Ruma lost her husband Alam, who worked in the plastic factory for five years [Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera]

    Eight people have been killed and at least 24 critically injured when a devastating fire swept through an illegal plastics factory outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, police said Thursday.

    The fire started on Wednesday afternoon and quickly ripped through the ground floor of the Prime Patent Plastic factory at Keraniganj, just southwest of Dhaka, they said.

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    "One person burned to death on the spot and 33 workers were critically burned. Seven of them later died in Dhaka Medical College Hospital," local police chief Shah Zaman told AFP news agency.

    The factory was operating illegally, he said, adding scores of firefighters battled for three hours to bring the fire under control.

    One of the survivors, Zakir Hossain, told local media outlet Bangla News that nearly 150 people had been working at the factory when the fire broke out.

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    Doctor Samanta Lal Sen said 24 workers were in critical condition, with many having suffered smoke inhalation and burns to half their bodies, adding that the toll was expected to rise.

    Factory fires are common in Bangladesh, especially in the dry winter season, due to lax enforcement of safety codes.

    In February this year, a fire in a historic Mughal building in an old neighbourhood of Dhaka killed at least 70 people and injured dozens.

    In November 2012, at least 111 people were killed in a blaze at a garment factory making apparel for Western retailers, in one of the country's most devastating fires.

    Less than six months later, another building containing garment factories collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people.

    SOURCE: News agencies