Wed November 28, 2012
Managers Arrested Following Bangladesh Factory Fire That Killed More Than 100
Garment factories in Bangladesh closed for a third day following Sunday's factory fire that left around 110 people dead. Tens of thousands of people continued to protest against the tragedy and for better working conditions in Ashulia, the factory suburb of Dhaka, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Bangladeshi police arrested three people from the Tazreen Fashions factory and accused them of preventing workers from fleeing to safety when the fire broke out late Saturday. As Mark wrote, the disaster was more horrific because of the facility's high fire risk conditions.
There are reports Tazreen managers may even have padlocked shut doors leading outside, says The Daily Star, of Bangladesh. Calling the place a 'death trap', the newspaper cited the factory's bolted shut glass windows; lack of exhaust fans; fake fire extinguishers; and just three staircases available to some 2,200 panicked employees.
There was no close water supply to help firefighters put out the blaze when they arrived. And professionals told the Star employees upstairs were doomed:
"After a visit to the factory site yesterday, Mubasshar Hussain, president of Institute of Architects Bangladesh, summed up it all: "All stairways lead to the warehouse on the ground floor. It was as if the workers were descending into infernal fires.""
The managers in custody are Tazreen's administrative officer Dulal Uddin, the 'store-in-charge' manager, Hamidul Islam Lavlu, and chief security officer Al Amin, says online Bangladeshi paper, bdnews24.com. The three will be held for five days for questioning into whether their negligence led to the workers' deaths. The trio maintain their innocence, and say they could have died in the fire, too. Reuters says some government officials believe the blaze was triggered by sabotage.
Walmart says it received clothing made at that location but was unaware of this and had previously cut ties to Tazreen. Other suppliers who received Tazreen garments are European store C&A and Li & Fung of Hong Kong, says AFP.