The Bangladesh Dhaka fire broke out on the 24th of November 2012 in Taren fashion factory. The factory was notorious in violating safety measures. The number of casualties was estimated to be 117. Some 200 more people were seriously injured. It was the deadliest factory fire to have ever occurred in the nation. The factory produced garments to various companies including the US marine, Dutch C&A and Hong’s Kong Li & Fung. This paper seeks to explore the cause of the fire and how different people reacted to it.
Initial reports assumed that the fire was as a result of an electric fault in the ground floor of the nine story building factory. Many workers were trapped as the fire spread quickly in all the nine floors due to the large number of fabrics. This complicated the situation for the fire fighters as the fire got out of control. It burnt for over 17 hours before being extinguished. Most victims were found on the second floor were an estimated 69 bodies were recovered. Witnesses claim a majority of the victims were unable to escape as the exit doors were narrow. 12 more victims were found dead while hanging on the window, a sign that they tried to leap in an attempt to escape. A number succumbed to injuries while in hospital. The workers who managed to escape to the roof were rescued. Either, the factories fire department admitted that it lacked the necessary emergency exits and all the staircases lead to the ground floor further complicating the situation in case of an outbreak.
There were reactions by different persons and agencies in response to the fire outbreak. The government, through the prime minister, claimed it was an act of arson and sabotage. They expressed shock and called for rescue operations. The home affairs minister also claimed that it was an act of arson by a well organized group as fire incidences had been rampant. Investigations were instituted by the government to uncover the truth behind the fire outbreak.
Taren factory management and the owner of the business admitted that the premise had never been safe. They said it was a huge loss to them stating that it was the first incidence to have ever occurred. The fire investigators and the police found it to be a criminal act and arrested 3 of the supervisors who were found to have locked the doors. They were charged in the court for engaging in arsonist acts.
The American company Wal-Mart terminated any relationship between them and the factory. They claimed that the contract between them was not valid as it had been initiated by a supplier without their knowledge and promised to work closely with other suppliers to ensure safety measures are adhered to. Further investigations were done by a governmental committee.
In conclusion, the fire outbreak at Taren factory led to various steps being taken in an attempt to mitigate the outbreaks. The Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exports Association expelled about 850 factories from its membership due to non-compliance with safety rules. The overseas companies and suppliers were also instructed to work closely with the garment producing factories to ensure safety rule are adhered to.