At least six workers were burnt to death as a fire broke out at Ideal Textile Mills in Mukterpur BSCIC area in Munshiganj on Wednesday.
The victims were identified as Israfil, 23, of Chuadanga, Nazmul, 22, of Sirajganj, Babu Miah, 22, of Sirajganj, Sajib, 23, of Jhenaidah, Ratan, 22, of Manikganj, and Hasina, 50, of Barguna, confirmed additional superintendent of police Mostafizur Rahman.
The fire broke out at the warehouse located just in front of the five-storey factory gate around 10:00am, said Mukterpur river police in-charge Joynal Abedin.
Sparks from welding at the gate of the factory building came in touch with flammable chemicals stored at the warehouse, causing the fire, he said.
There were 210 workers on duty when the fire occurred, the factory general manager Khidir Sharma said before he was arrested along with five other officials of the factory.
There were no workers missing, said fire service deputy director (Dhaka division) Debashish Bardhan.
He said a huge quantity of chemical was stored at the warehouse in an ‘unplanned and unsafe way’.
The workers could not come out of the factory as the fire along with smoke was spreading through the gate, Debashish said.
The factory did not have any alternative staircase, he told New Age.
The existing staircase was so narrow that the workers could not come out promptly, he observed after visiting the factory in the afternoon.
Deputy director Farid Uddin of Narayanganj Fire Service said four fire-fighting units put out the flame after four hours of frantic efforts.
Munshiganj deputy commissioner Shayla Farzana visited the spot and police arrested six officials of the textile including its general manager Khidir Sharma as per the order of the DC.
She said a five-member probe body was formed to investigate the incident.
‘The responsible factory authorities would not be spared,’ she said, adding that Tk 20,000 would be provided for each family of the victims for burial.
Witnesses said the factory authorities barred local people from rescuing the workers.
Some workers, backed by the factory authorities, barred local people and the journalists from entering the area, they said.
The six workers who died afterwards were staying on the fourth and fifth floor when the flame was razing, workers said.
Their charred bodies were recovered later, they said.
In September last year, at least 39 people died, nine went missing and dozens wounded in a fire at Tampaco Foils in Gazipur.
A Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited investigation found that the fire at Tampaco resulted from the explosion of chemicals stored unsafely.
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