Fire fighters have still not managed to extinguish the fire in a seven-storey factory of Hashem Foods Ltd, a subsidiary of the Sajeeb Group, in Bhulta of Rupganj, more than 24 hours after it first broke out on Thursday evening. The confirmed death toll till filing of this report stands at 52, and is expected to rise.
As more details emerged of the catastrophe, it became clear that the workers were left with no chance in the face of the raging inferno, that has been further fuelled by combustible items such as ghee, butter, oil and polybags stored on each floor.
Even so, the workers may have had a chance at escape, if only the building code had been maintained to provide an emergency exit, or the management had not implemented the medieval practice of locking the gates of the factory floors, that carried undertones of the horrific Tazreen Garments fire in 2012 that killed at least 112.
Deputy Director of the Fire Service Debashish Bardhan confirmed to UNB that rescue workers had to literally break down the locked collapsible gate on the building's 4th floor to go in and recover the bodies. That is where they found 49 of the bodies, burnt to a pulp overnight on the factory floor.
None of the bodies were in a recognisable state. Narayanganj Additional Deputy Commissioner (Overall) Shamim Bepari said they would be handed over to their relatives after DNA testing to identify them. They have already been sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for autopsy and DNA test.