In what has become all too common, another garment factory fire has claimed the lives of at least seven people in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
In November, Digital Journal reported that a 112 people were killed during a garment factory fire in Dhaka.
On Saturday, fire swept through the Smart Garment Export factory shortly after the lunch break. One witness told The Daily Star the fire began in a storage area that housed flammable sponges.
Workers are claiming many of them had to jump out of windows to escape the flames due to factory supervisors locking exit doors. Officials have confirmed that both exit gates were locked and there were no guards present to unlock the gates.
Masudur Rahman Akand, a Bangladesh Fire Department supervisor, told the New York Times the fire occurred on the second floor of the building. He confirmed that investigators found the factory did not have proper exits, and that there was no fire prevention equipment present, noting investigators could not even find fire extinguishers in the factory.
Once guards finally arrived to unlock the exit gates, smoke had already filled the factory, adding to the panic. As soon as the doors were open, a stampede of panicked workers ensured. Some of the seven killed are believed to have been trampled to death according to an AFP report. All seven of those killed in the blaze were women.
An estimated eight other workers were hospitalized, with at least five of them critically injured according to police chief Azizul Haq.