BANGLADESH: Garment factory fire kills seven workers
At least seven workers were killed and 50 others injured in a fire that raged through an unlicensed garment factory in Dhaka on Saturday (26 January) - just two months after 112 lost their lives in another apparel factory fire in Bangladesh.
Labour groups say Smart Export Garment was making apparel for European retailers including Inditex's Bershka and Lefties brands, KIK Okay (belonging to the German discounter KIK), as well as New Look, Scott and Fox, and Solo Invest.
However, KIK has denied that it had any relationship with Smart Exports, or has received any evidence that orders were sub-contracted to the factory.
The cause of the fire at the two-storey factory is unknown, but more than 350 workers were at the facility when the fire broke out on Saturday afternoon.
Like the fire at Tazreen Fashion in November last year, workers at Smart Garment alleged that all exits were closed and that gates were locked.
Fire service and civil defence authorities said no fire extinguishers or fire exits were found at the site, and that the factory owners had never applied for a fire certificate.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) both moved to distance themselves from the factory, saying Smart Export Garments had no affiliation with either of them.
Since 2006, more than 700 apparel workers have died in Bangladesh, with many of the country's 5,400 garment factories afflicted by badly constructed buildings with substandard electric wiring.
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