07/09/2021, 15.29
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At least 53 people die in fire at a juice factory near Dhaka

by Sumon Corraya

Many people were injured and scores are missing following the blaze at the Hashem Foods factory. According to survivors and victims’ families, the gate to the plant was locked and the building was not equipped with adequate safety measures. Many died jumping from the fourth floor to escape the flames.


Narayanganj (AsiaNews) - At least 52 people died and many more were injured in a fire that broke out in a juice factory in Narayanganj, a city located within the ​​Dhaka Division.

It is feared that the death toll could get higher as 22 people are still missing. The injured were transferred to several local hospitals and to facilities in Dhaka.

The fire broke out last night on the fourth floor of the Hashem Foods Ltd factory in Rupganj, an upazila (county) in Narayangani District. The plant produces various types of fruit juices, soft drinks, and other foodstuffs.

Company executives did not disclose how many people were inside the facility at the time the fire broke out.

Workers and their families report that the main gate, which is also the factory's only exit, was locked at the time the blaze started. They also say that the building was not equipped with adequate safety measures.

Many victims died trying to save their lives by jumping out of the windows.

Sakhaut Hossain, one of the injured, explains: “I jumped in a hurry out of panic to get out of the building, But I hurt my leg.”

Others were less fortunate and died from hitting the ground.

The situation seemed under control during the night, but the blaze flared up again this morning.  The firefighting teams are still at work.

“Firefighters are engaged to douse the flame on the sixth floor of the building as pocket fires continued to break out,” said Abdullah Al Arefin, deputy assistant director of the fire service and civil defence in Narayanganj District

At present he has been unable to provide details on the cause of the fire. A commission of inquiry has been set up to investigate.

Firefighters explain that they are trying to put out the flames using the stairs, but the job is made difficult by the presence of plastics and chemicals.

The heat of the fire also melted the window frames and a cloud of black smoke is still billowing out of the building.

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