At least 24 people have been killed and 50 injured after a fire engulfed a packaging factory north of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. “We need to move a huge amount of debris otherwise searching is not possible”, he said.
Many others were critically injured in the explosion.
Seventy people were injured, many of them in a critical condition, in the explosion which happened as workers prepared to swap shifts.
“There were some 100 people inside when the fire broke out”, said one Tampaco Foils official. He could not be reached by telephone to answer further questions on Sunday.
The fire is understood to have spread quickly because flammable chemicals were stored at the factory.
“We have launched investigation. the persons responsible for the accident, the owner of the factory in particular, will face stern legal action”, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said.
The location of the boiler in the building is also being investigated, he said. “Survivors say workers were forced to go inside the building, even though a visible crack was forming”, as NPR’s Jim Zarroli reported earlier this year.
Fires and other accidents are common in the factories that make up the $27-billion garment industry in Bangladesh, the world’s second-biggest apparel exporter after China. The collapse of a massive factory in Dhaka in 2013 killed over 1,100 people and led to an agreement to improve safety standards in the region.
Two global coalitions have been formed to help fund improvements to building and fire safety at thousands of garment factories across Bangladesh.
But thousands of local factories supplying the domestic market have done little to address safety concerns.
AFP said the factory was producing and printing plastic packaging materials for food items such as potato chips and some household goods like mosquito coils.
Authorities said that the exact cause of the fire was not known immediately.