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Bangladesh factory fire kills seven

A fire that swept through a two-story clothing factory in Bangladesh's capital has killed at least seven female workers and injured another five, police and fire officials said.

The fire at the Smart factory occurred just two months after a blaze killed 112 workers in another factory near the capital city, raising questions about safety standards and treatment of workers in Bangladesh's garment industry that exports clothes to leading Western retailers.

The country has more than 4,000 such factories. The cause of the latest fire was not immediately known, fire official Abdul Halim said.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Monzurul Kabir said the bodies of seven women were recovered from the top floor of the factory in Dhaka's Mohammadpur district. He said the factory was making trousers and shirts, but could not provide further details.

Halim said it took firefighters about two hours to bring the blaze under control.

Volunteers joined firefighters in battling the blaze as a large crowd gathered outside the factory awaiting word on the fate of relatives. Family members were seen crying near the body of a female worker named Josna, who was only 16.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart Stores alerted its global suppliers that it will immediately drop them if they subcontract their work to factories that have not been authorised.

The stricter contracting rule, along with other changes to Wal-Mart policy, come amid increasing calls for better safety oversight after the deadly late November fire at a factory owned by Tazreen Fashions that supplied clothing to Wal-Mart and other retailers.

Wal-Mart said the factory was not authorised to make its clothes.

Building fires have led to more than 600 garment work deaths in Bangladesh since 2005, according to research by the advocacy group International Labour Rights Forum.


From Belfast Telegraph