Yet another inferno in RMG factory


At least nine killed amid fears of death toll rising; firefighters' frantic efforts still on

A fire in a readymade garment factory of Paul Mall Group in Gazipur last night killed at least 9 people with firefighters fearing that the death toll may rise. Until the filing of this report at 12:30am today, at least 9 bodies have been found. Superintendent of Gazipur Police Abdul Baten told the Dhaka Tribune that firefighters had managed to pull out three of them, Rashed Mandal, 40, assistant general manager, Nayan, a member of the factory’s own firefighting unit, and Raju Ahmed, a worker from the knitting section.


Other workers, who were assisting the firefighters in dousing the flames, have claimed that they had identified the dead bodies of four of their co-workers, Knitting Technician Khalil, 25, Sample Technician Nayeem, 26, and Knitting Operators Rubel, 24, and Raju, 25. Firefighters could not say for certain how many more bodies were still trapped inside the factory. They said they would be able to give a definite number after the fire was fully doused and the debris had been fully searched. Most of the bodies that were visible from the outside, were almost fully burnt to ashes. Witnesses, and some of the workers who sustained injuries managing to come out of the factory, said they had seen more bodies inside the building.

Nine units of the Fire Service had been trying to douse the flames that spread to four other buildings in the vicinity. Humayun Kabir, one of the assistant general managers, said the fire originated from the knitting section on the first floor of the two-storey factory building of the Aswad Composite Mills Limited, a sister concern of Paul Mall Group at Beraiderchala in Sreepur upazila of Gazipur, sometime around 7pm on Tuesday.

Around 140-170 Workers were working when the fire broke out, he said, claiming that most of them managed to leave the factory safely soon after the flames started spreading. Abu Zafar Ahmed, in-charge of Gazipur Fire Service and Civil Defence Station, said the blaze went out of control because of a boiler explosion. When he last talked to the Dhaka tribune at 12:30am, he said the fire was slowly giving way to the firefighters’ efforts. He, however, said a few more hours would be required to fully tame the blaze. Liton Miah, a witness, said: “One of the workers trapped inside called up his relatives and requested them to rescue him. His mobile phone, however, went out of reach a little later.” The local administration has formed a seven-member probe committee, headed by Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Gazipur Shahnewaj Dilruba Khan, to look into the incident.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within three days. Emdad Khan, one of the directors of the factory, announced that the families of each of the deceased workers would be given Tk30,000 as immediate compensation. A devastating factory fire in Tazreen Fashions, in Ashulia, in November of last year killed at least 117 and left scores other injured. In April this year, Rana Plaza, a nine-storied building in Savar near Dhaka that housed five garment factories, collapsed leaving more than 1,100 dead and thousands injured.