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Factory fire kills 124 in Bangladesh

Dhaka(PTI): At least 124 people were killed overnight as a massive blaze engulfed a multi-storey garment factory on the outskirts of the Bangladesh capital in one of the worst fire tragedies in the country.

The fire broke out at Tazrin Fashion factory in suburban Ashulia Savar, 30 km from Dhaka, last night and quickly spread to the the ground and first floors of the six-storey building, officials and witnesses said today.

“We have so far retrieved 124 bodies (and) rescue campaign is still underway,” Major Mahbub Hossain, a senior fire service official, told PTI over phone, adding that most of the bodies were found severely charred.

He said the fire service said the toll could rise.

Witnesses said it was the worst fire tragedy in recent years.

Fire service officials earlier said several workers of the factory were trapped inside and took shelter on the rooftop of the structure awaiting rescuers.

Efforts were still underway to extinguish the blaze with authorities mobilising several fire fighting units.

Television footage showed army troops and fire service rescuers bringing out bodies one after another from the debris as hundreds of people, including relatives of the victims, waited outside.

General Officer Commanding of nearby Savar Cantonment Maj Gen Syed Hassan Suhrawardy, who is overseeing the rescue campaign, said the bodies would be kept at a nearby primary school premises from where relatives could take them for burial.

Many workers jumped from the factory’s upper floors to escape the flames before firefighters arrived to put the blaze out.

The cause was not immediately known but such fires are usually blamed on short circuits.
Authorities called out extra police force at the scene as angry relatives and fellow workers damaged a fire engine, protesting the delay in dousing the blaze.

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