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Owners questioned in deadly factory fire

Published By United Press International
DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Police in Bangladesh have detained for questioning the owners of a garment factory that caught fire Saturday killing seven people, officials said.

A Dhaka court Wednesday gave police permission to remand the two men -- Sharif Abdul Salam, 44, chairman of Smart Garment Export and managing director Zakir Ahmed, 56 -- for questioning, bdnews24.com reported.

The Smart Garment Export factory went up in flames Saturday, killing five female workers, and a doctor and an assistant who were caring for the injured at the scene. Five of the injured were still undergoing treatment at Shikder Medical College, the news website reported.

Workers said their supervisors locked one of the factory exits, forcing some employees to jump out of windows, The Times reported.

Fire Department Supervisor DeMasurdur Rahman Akand said the dead either suffocated or were trampled by others trying to escape from the factory, which made sweaters and jackets.

Altaf Hossain, the father of one of the victims, filed a lawsuit against Smart Exports Ltd., which also accuses three directors of the factory, bdnews24.com reported. The suit blamed the directors and chairman for the fire and deaths because the factory had poor fire-safety measures and few fire escapes.

The latest fire came in the wake of a Nov. 24 fire at Bangladesh's Tazreen Fashions factory that killed 110 employees and left more than 200 injured.

After China, Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade garments, the website said.

The cause of the fire was not reported.
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