Contact Us




The Arizona Daily Wildcat Online





News Sports Opinions Arts Classifieds

Monday November 27, 2000

Football site
Football site
UA Survivor
Pearl Jam


Police Beat


Alum site

AZ Student Media

KAMP Radio & TV


Fire, stampede kills 45 garment workers in Bangladesh

By The Associated Press

DHAKA, Bangladesh - A fire in a garment factory left at least 45 people dead, most of them killed in the crush as panicked workers tried to flee the four-story building in an industrial town near the capital, police and doctors said yesterday. Most of the dead were women and children.

More than 100 others were hospitalized with injuries after the fire and stampede Saturday night at Chowdhury Knitwear Garments factory in Shibpur, 25 miles east of Dhaka. Some of the injured were in critical condition, and the death toll could rise, a police official supervising the rescue work said.

At least 900 workers, many of them women, were at the factory when a fire broke out on the its fourth floor, where towels and knitwear are ironed. Workers scrambled to flee the factory along narrow stairwells and many of them fell on each other, officials said.

Nearly all the victims died in the stampede, and many of the injured had jumped out windows trying to escape, Sitish Ranjan, the area's chief government administrator, said in a telephone interview. He said a probe had been ordered.

Witnesses told newspapers workers were trapped because the only exit door on the ground floor was locked for security reasons and had to be broken open by firefighters. The factory owner, Sagar Chowdhury, disputed those accounts.

He said the fire was caused by a short circuit on the fourth floor.

Bangladesh has nearly 2,000 garment factories that employ at least 1.5 million workers, most of them young women. Children also work in the factories.

Garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe, account for nearly 70 percent of Bangladesh's total annual export revenue of $5 billion.