Bangladesh Garment Factory Fire Claims 120 Lives [PHOTOS]

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By IB Times Staff Reporter | November 25, 2012 7:07 PM EST

A fire in a multi-storey garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killed at least 120 people and injured many others, the chief of the fire brigade said on Sunday.

"This morning we have recovered 120 dead bodies and the death toll could rise," Abu Nayeem Mohammad Shahidullah, director general of the fire brigade, told reporters.

On Saturday, the fire broke out at the seven-storey clothing factory at Ashulia, an industrial area on the outskirts of Dhaka, where about half a million people make clothes. The blaze in the factory operated by Tazreen Fashions, started on the ground floor and quickly spread to the other floors, leaving hundreds of workers including women, trapped in the fire.

"The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor," Associated Press quoted fire department Operations Director Maj. Mohammad Mahbub as saying. "So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building. Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower," he added.

According to witnesses, workers ran for their safety after the fire broke out, but were unable to come out because of narrow exits.

"Many jumped out from the windows and were injured, or died on the spot," Reuters quoted Milon, a resident, as saying. "We are appalled to see the charred bodies coming out of the factory since last night. It was an endless stream," he added.

The cause of the fire is not known yet and police and rescuers said that the death counts could rise. 

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