Monday 26 September 2016

At least 21 killed in explosion which triggered fire at packaging factory

Published 10/09/2016 | 08:18

People look at a fire at a garment packaging factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
People look at a fire at a garment packaging factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

A boiler exploded triggering a fire at a packaging factory near Bangladesh's capital, killing at least 21 people and injuring dozens, officials said.

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Several bodies were recovered from the five-storey Tampaco Foils Ltd factory in the Tongi industrial area outside Dhaka, fire official Mohammed Rafiquzzaman said.

Mohammed Parvez, a doctor at Tongi Hospital, confirmed the number of deaths.

Fire officials working at the scene said the explosion was huge and that the fire triggered by the blast spread quickly because flammable chemicals were stored at the factory.

Factory safety is a major concern in Bangladesh, which has thousands of garment and packaging factories that supply products to global clothing chains.

Local TV stations said about 50 people were injured in Saturday's disaster, indicating that the death toll could be higher. Television footage showed smoke billowing from the factory, with the fire engulfing part of the upper floors.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion. Authorities have ordered an investigation.

Syed Mokbul Hossain, owner of the Tampaco Foils factory, told the Bengali-language Prothom Alo daily that he was not sure when the boiler was last inspected.

People try to extinguish a fire at a garment packaging factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
People try to extinguish a fire at a garment packaging factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

He said around 75 people were supposed to work the night shift. Saturday was the last working day at the factory before the workers were to go on leave for a week-long holiday for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, which falls on Tuesday.

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