Fire engulfs Bangladesh food factory, killing 52 people

Rescue workers carry the bodies that were recovered after a fire broke out at a factory of Hashem Foods Ltd in Rupganj, Narayanganj district, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 9, 2021.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

At least 52 people died in a fire that engulfed a food and beverage factory outside Bangladesh's capital, fire officials said Friday.

The blaze began Thursday night at the five-story Hashem Food and Beverage Ltd. factory in Rupganj, just outside Dhaka. Police initially gave a toll of three dead, but then discovered piles of bodies on Friday afternoon after the fire was extinguished.

In addition, at least 26 workers were injured when they jumped from the upper floors as the fire engulfed the building, the United News of Bangladesh agency reported,

Debasish Bardhan, deputy director of the Fire Service and Civil Defense, said 52 bodies have been recovered from inside the factory and rescue operations are continuing. He said the top two floors have not yet been searched.

The main exit of the factory, which processes juice, soft drinks and other food items, was locked from the inside, he said.

Information about how many people were in the factory and how many were missing was not immediately available.

“For now, we only have these details. After searching the top floors we will be able to get a complete picture,” Mr. Bardhan said.

Victims in white body bags were piled in a fleet of ambulances as relatives wailed outside.

Earlier, family members clashed with police as they waited overnight without any word of the fate of their loved ones.

The government ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire.

Bangladesh has a history of deadly factory fires. They are often attributed to safety lapses that still plague the South Asian country despite its rapid economic growth.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 6:10:00 PM |

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