Bangladesh: Managers arrested after factory fire that killed 112

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The Independent Online

Three managers at a factory where 112 workers died in a fire have been arrested on suspicion of locking staff inside.

The officials were arrested yesterday at their homes in Savar, the Dhaka suburb where the factory is located. The local police chief, Habibur Rahman, said the three did not include the owner of Tazreen Fashions, but he did not identify the factory officials.

Workers who survived the fire on Saturday say exit doors were locked, fire extinguishers did not work and managers had told them to go back to work after the fire alarm sounded. A fire official has said that far fewer people would have died if there had been even one emergency exit.

The fire has elevated awareness of something labour groups, retailers and governments have known for years: in Bangladesh's fast-growing garment industry – second only to China's in exports – dangerous workplaces are rife. More than 300 workers have died in fires since 2006.

About 1,400 people worked at the plant, some 70 per cent of them women. Most are from the north, the poorest region of Bangladesh.