There was an eerie silence among factory owners around Dhaka on Thursday as another factory caught fire in Ashulia, a suburb of the Bangladesh capital.
This story first appeared in the December 27, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Although no one was hurt, the seven-story building of the Japan-Bangla Garments factory suffered extensive damage, a district fire official told WWD. The fire started before the work day began, at 7 a.m., he said, citing the timing of the fire as a stroke of good luck for the more than 600 workers who work at the factory.
Fire officials said it was too early to ascertain the cause, although it appeared to result from a short circuit in the wiring and did not appear to be arson.
Earlier this month, the Standard Group factory, which officials of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, or BGMEA, observed was a compliant factory that employed more than 15,000 workers, was burnt down in a case of suspected arson. This was preceded by a string of fires in Bangladeshi factories this year.
BGMEA officials told WWD that owners were trying to ensure greater compliance and safety and more inspectors were being hired.
However, the spate of fires at factories in different areas is proving hard to explain. Nongovernmental organizations have insisted the blazes result from carelessness on the part of the owners and contend that faulty building codes continue to put workers at risk.