Dozens of workers jumped to their deaths and more than 100 were injured when a fire swept through a Bangladeshi factory that makes clothes for high street retailer Gap today.
Witnesses said the blaze – at the factory just outside Dhaka – engulfed the multistorey building, forcing some of those trapped inside to leap from the windows. The fire comes after repeated warnings about fire safety at factories making clothes for western retailers.
Authorities said that the fire initially broke out on the building’s 10th floor, where trousers were stored for shipment, and then spread up to the 11th floor where there was a canteen and a manufacturing facility. At least 27 people died in the blaze while one witness said that he saw 50 to 60 people jumping off the 10th floor to escape.
Abdur Rahim, who was injured, said most of the workers were having lunch when the fire broke out. “Heavy plumes of fire suffocated the area.” He said two of the emergency exits were closed. Unable to walk down, many broke the windows to escape the fire and injured themselves.
Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at the anti-poverty charity War on Want, said: “This latest tragedy in a factory owned by a firm which supplies UK stores underlines how workers risk their lives to make our clothes.”