Fire in ‘Illegal’ Plastics Factory Outside Dhaka Kills 13

DESPARDES — At least 13 people have died in a devastating fire at an illegal plastics factory in Keraniganj on the outskirts of Bangladesh capital Dhaka.

Another 20 critically injured people are being treated for injuries at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

The Fire Service and Civil Defense brought the blaze at the Prime Pet and Plastics Industries Limited under control after a hectic effort. The fire started on Wednesday afternoon. Scores of firefighters battled for three hours to bring the fire under control, local police chief Shah Zaman told AFP news agency.

Of the 33 critically injured, twelve people died from Thursday dawn to afternoon, bringing the confirmed death toll from the disaster to 13,” Ariful Islam Nabin, Resident Surgeon of the burn unit of DMCH, told journalists on Thursday afternoon.

Doctor Samanta Lal Sen said the toll was expected to rise.

One of the survivors, Zakir Hossain, told local media that nearly 150 people had been working at the factory when the fire broke out.

According to the officials, the tin-roofed factory used to produce disposable plates and cups. The cause of the blaze in factory is still unclear, but it may have triggered by a faulty gas cylinder.

Factory fires — specially in the dry winter — are common in Bangladesh, where safety conditions are often poor coupled with lax enforcement codes.

In February this year, a fire in a historic Mughal building in an old neighborhood of Dhaka killed at least 70 people and injured dozens.

In November 2012, at least 111 people were killed in a blaze at a garment factory making apparel for Western retailers, in one of the country’s most devastating fires.

Bangladesh suffered worst every industrial tragedy in 2013 when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed in Savar on the outskirts of capital Dhaka, killing 1,135 people.