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Owner of juice factory in Bangladesh arrested after 52 people killed in fire



“Among the 8, one of them is the owner of the factory and his staff,” Zaidul Alam, chief of police for the Narayanganj district of Bangladesh, told CNN.

At least 52 people were killed and at least 50 others injured when a massive fire broke out through a juice factory in Bangladesh, officials said Friday.

The fire started Thursday afternoon on the ground floor of a six-story factory in Hashem Foods Ltd. in Rupganj, east of the capital Dhaka, said Debashis Bardhan, deputy director of fire and civil defense.

The presence of chemicals and flammable substances such as polythene and clarified butter contributed to the fire at the factory and made it more difficult to control it, the state news agency Sangbad Sangstha in Bangladesh reported.

Three people died as they jumped off the roof Thursday after suffering burns from the fire, BSS reported, citing Abdul Al Arifin, Narayanganj district deputy director of fire and civil defense. Almost none of the bodies recovered on Friday could be recognized, BSS reported, citing fire and Civil Defense Director Lieutenant Colonel Zillur Rahman.

Al Arifin said each of the floors of the building was about 3,250 square feet, but was only accessible via two stairs, meaning many workers could not get out as the fire spread to the stairs while one of the doors leading from stairs to the roof were locked, Reuters reported.

Twenty-five people were rescued from the building, officials said.

The fire was brought under control Friday afternoon, BSS reported, and relatives of missing workers staged demonstrations outside and around the factory premises.

Firefighters recover the remains of a victim.

Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire and the large number of deaths.

In 2013, more than 1,000 people were killed when an entire garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh’s capital, bringing safety standards for the country’s factory workers – a high proportion of whom work in the clothing industry – into the spotlight.
Nearly 200 brands and more than 1,600 factories signed an agreement that promotes safe working environments for workers after the incident.

However, flames and accidents can still be common in South Asian factories, many of which operate illegally and without adequate fire and building safety standards.

Salman Saeed reported from Dhaka and Sophie Jeong reported from Hong Kong, Elaine Ly reported from San Francisco and Heather Law reported from Atlanta. Amy Woodyatt wrote from London.


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