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Fire kills 8 in second Bangladesh factory disaster

- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2013

For the second time in just a couple weeks, Bangladesh's garment industry has been hit by disaster — this time, from a fire that swept an 11-story clothing manufacturing facility, killing eight on Thursday.

"It is not clear to us how the accident happened, but we are trying to find out the cause," said Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told Reuters.

The fire occurred in the industrial district of Mirpur. And it comes on the heels of another garment factory disaster in Rana Plaza, just outside the city, on April 24. Then, an eight-story garment building that spanned several blocks collapsed, killing hundreds. As the days wore on, and more bodies were discovered, the death count swelled. On Thursday, authorities were reporting the number killed in that factory collapse upwards of 900.

Another 2,500 were rescued from that disaster, called the world's deadliest factory-related accident since 1984, Reuters reported. The Bangladesh government has since closed 18 garment facilities for safety inspections. Six reopened on Thursday, after receiving safety certificates, Reuters said.

The fire on Thursday occurred during after-hours, and most workers had gone home, Reuters reported.

"The factory was closed and all the workers had left the premises an hour earlier," a fire fighting spokesman said in the Reuters report.

Those killed included the company's managing director, a senior police officer and several friends and staffers of the factory's boss, officials told Reuters.

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