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Another Deadly Fire Hits Bangladeshi Garment Factory

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In what has become an all-too-familiar news story, another deadly fire has broken out at a garment factory in Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Inside a garment factory in Bangladesh. (Photo: jankie/cc/flickr) At least 10 people were killed and scores were injured from the blaze at a factory in Gazipur, near the capital of Dhaka.

Some fear the death toll could be much higher.

"It's a massive fire. Ten fire brigade teams are working to put it out," local police chief Amir Hossain told Agence France-Presse.

Mahbubur Rahman, the local fire service director, told AFP that it took an hour for emergency services to arrive because "There is no fire station within a 20-mile radius of the factory."

The low-paying, unsafe working conditions at garment factories in the country have received growing coverage since April when over 1,100 people died in a factory collapse, and recent protests by hundreds of thousands of workers have called for better pay and working conditions; however, day-to-day miserable conditions continue to affect those toiling for poverty wages in the $20-billion industry. 

In These Times writer Michelle Chen noted recently:

Despite protests led by workers and solidarity campaigns by labor advocates around the globe, however, the multinational brands that drive Bangladesh’s thriving garment industry are characteristically reluctant to address demands either for higher wages or fair compensation for aggrieved workers and their families. [...]

The rage that now pulses through the streets of Dhaka sends a powerful message to both consumers and corporate CEOs in the countries that profit from the drudgery of Bangladeshi workers. When a factory can turn into a death trap in an instant, they might as well turn the street into their battleground.

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