Eight arrests after 52 die in blaze at factory in Bangladesh

10 July 2021, 16:42

Firefighters at the site of the blaze where 52 died
Firefighters at the site of the blaze where 52 died. Picture: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News

By Asher McShane

Police in Bangladesh have arrested eight people on murder charges in connection with a factory fire that killed at least 52 people.

The blaze began at the five-storey Hashem Foods factory in Rupganj, just outside the capital Dhaka, on Thursday night, sending huge clouds of black smoke billowing into the sky.

Police discovered dozens of bodies on Friday afternoon after the fire was extinguished. Many of the dead are understood to have been trapped inside by an illegally locked door.

Jayedul Alam, police superintendent for Narayanganj district, said the eight people arrested are in custody.

Bangladesh's home minister Asaduzzman Khan said among those detained is the chairman and managing director of Sajeeb Group, which owns the factory.

Visiting the factory site on Saturday, Mr Khan described what had happened as "murder", and said those responsible will be punished.

Bangladesh has a tragic history of industrial disasters, including factories catching fire with the workers locked inside.

In similar cases, owners have faced culpable homicide charges for their negligence.

Officials say the main exit of the factory that caught fire on Thursday was locked from the inside, and many of those who died were trapped.

One of them was 23-year-old Rima Akter, who made desperate calls to her family as the fire began to engulf the factory.

On Saturday, her mother and other family members struggled to identify her remains in the morgue at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

"We have checked 36 body bags, but it is very difficult to identify her," her brother-in-law Arafat Rahman said.

Her mother cried as officials tried to reassure several families waiting outside the hospital that the bodies would be returned once DNA tests have been carried out, as most had suffered severe burns.

Forensic experts collected DNA samples from victims' family members, and by late Saturday afternoon samples from 33 of the deceased had been collected, officials at the hospital said.

The factory is a subsidiary of Sajeeb Group, a Bangladeshi company that produces juice under Pakistan's

Lahore-based Shezan International. According to the group's website, the company exports its products to a number of countries including Australia, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Bhutan, Nepal and nations in the Middle East and Africa.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Breaking News

Labour candidate suspended as Gambling Commission launches investigation

Celine Dion's diagnosis was featured as part of Amazon Prime series I Am Celine Dion. Images Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios © Amazon Content Services LLC

Céline Dion shares harrowing footage of ten minute 'crisis' seizure following Stiff Person's Syndrome diagnosis

David Larkin was found while police searched for Jay Slater.

Pictured: British hiker, 51, who was 'rescued' during search for missing Jay Slater as he insists he 'didn't need help'

Exclusive
A busy hospital with staff busy at work in an accident and emergency ward in a British hospital

'Cut-price doctor' physician associates and anaesthesia associates acting illegally in one in eight NHS trusts

Sir Keir Starmer has made it his ‘moral mission’ to reduce knife crime

Keir Starmer pledges to ban zombie knives within six months of Labour government

Gavin Plumb is accused of plotting to murder Holly Willoughby

Security guard accused of Holly Willoughby murder plot said he would 'make TV star let him do what he pleased'

Craig Williams said he 'committed an error of judgement, not an offence'. He was dumped by Rishi Sunak along with Laura Saunders (inset)

Candidate at centre of the General Election betting scandal breaks silence after being dropped by Tories

Hungary's Barnabas Varga pictured for the first time after suffering horror head injury against Scotland

Hungary's Barnabas Varga pictured for the first time after suffering horror head injury against Scotland

Govia Thameslink Railway has put the bins in almost 500 men's toilets

Train firm puts sanitary bins in men’s lavatories to combat 'taboo' of incontinence

Princess Anne's husband Sir Tim Laurence has visited her in hospital after she was kicked in the head

Princess Anne's husband gives health update after she was kicked in the head by a horse and given concussion

Jay Slater's employer says 'picture being painted' of British teen is 'just not true' as hunt continues in Tenerife

Jay Slater's employer says 'picture being painted' of British teen is 'just not true' as hunt continues in Tenerife

Japanese emperor and empress meet King Charles and Queen Camilla

Japanese emperor and empress meet with Royals - after Emperor Naruhito studied his life's passion The Thames barrier

Metropolitan Police officers walking a beat on patrol in Fulham, London

Five more Met police officers accused of placing bets on the timing of the election

Princess Anne's husband has visited her in hospital

Princess Anne's husband visits her in hospital after she was hit on the head by a horse and given concussion

The Met Office has issued multiple "very high" warnings for pollen count

'Pollen bomb' to explode over UK - here's how to survive it

Dua Lipa suffered a security scare while rehearsing for her Glastonbury appearance

TikToker breaks into Dua Lipa rehearsals for Glastonbury and makes 'total prat' of themselves in security scare