Bangladesh Factory Fire: Seven Killed
A fire at a Bangladesh factory where workers were making clothes for labels including Next, Gap and H&M has killed seven people.
Firefighters battled through the night to douse the flames at the Aswad Knit Composite factory at Sripur, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka.
Although the fire was put out by early Wednesday, parts of the two-storey building were still smouldering.
Police said that the fire was so intense that most of the bodies that have been recovered were too badly burned to be identified.
It comes about six months after a factory building collapse that killed 1,100 people exposed the harsh and often unsafe conditions in the industry.
Workers said the latest blaze, which broke out on Tuesday evening, appeared to have been started by a malfunctioning knitting machine which had caught fire on a number of previous occasions.
Mohammad Abu Saan, who works at the factory, said: "There have been quite a few small fires in the machine recently, but we managed to douse them. This time it was big."
Earlier police and fire officials said the blaze started in a boiler.
A correspondent with the AFP news agency found work order books at the scene containing names of the factory's clients in September, which included US brand Gap, British retailer Next, Swedish fashion label H&M and French supermarket Carrefour.
A fabric swatch book marked with Walmart's brand George and labels were also reportedly seen.
Revising an earlier death toll which put the number of dead at nine, local police chief Amir Hossain said seven bodies had been recovered after a thorough search of the building.
He said: "Two bodies have been identified and handed over to their relatives. Five other bodies were charred beyond recognition."
Industrial accidents are common in the country, where the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory block in April killed 1,129 people in the nation's worst industrial disaster.
Since then, protests over poor wages, benefits and working conditions have shaken the sector, the country's economic mainstay.
Fire service director Mahbubur Rahman said the blaze spread because emergency services took more than an hour to reach the site.
He said: "There is no fire station within an 18 mile (30km) radius of the factory."
Safety standards at Bangladesh's 4,500 garment factories, where workers toil for 10 to 12 hours a day for a monthly minimum wage of $38 (£23.65), are notoriously lax and fires are a common problem.