The owner of a Bangladesh clothing factory where a fire killed 112 people has said he was never informed it was required to have an emergency exit.
“It was my fault. But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit, which could be made accessible from outside,” factory owner Delwar Hossain was quoted yesterday as telling the Daily Star newspaper. “Nobody advised me to install one like that. I could have done it. But nobody ever suggested that I do it.”
Activists in the South Asian country hope the tragedy will invigorate their lengthy – but so far fruitless – efforts to increase safety standards and force stronger government oversight of the powerful industry.
The Tazreen Fashions factory in a Dhaka suburb was making clothes for major global retailers. When a fire broke out over the weekend, many of the 1,400 workers were trapped inside the eight-storey building because exit doors were locked. A fire official said the death toll would have been much lower if the factory had had an emergency exit.
Police said they were interrogating three factory managers on possible negligence charges.
Workers have expressed support for Hossain. Employee Mohammad Rajib said he is a “gentle man” who gave them pay rises and fired managers after protests against low pay and abuse.