A fire ripped through a garment factory in Bangladesh' capital Dhaka Saturday evening, killing at least seven female workers, police said Sunday.
Azizul Haque, officer-in-charge of Dhaka's Mohammadpur police station, told Xinhua over a dozen workers were also injured as they rushed out of the two-story factory building.
"Seven female workers were killed by smoke inhalation, burns and stampede. Many of them were critical when rescued and they succumbed to their injuries in the hospital later," he said.
Firefighters battled to contain the raging blaze that started Saturday evening on the first floor of the two-story building in the city's Mohammadpur suburb and spread to other floors, leaving scores of workers, mostly women, trapped.
Officials said nearly 500 people, mostly women, were working in the factory as the fire began, but it was unclear how many had been injured exactly.
Fire Services Deputy Assistant Director Abdul Halim said the blaze could have originated from an electrical short circuit.
The blaze came around two months after the country's worst industrial fire at Ashulia on the outskirts of capital Dhaka.
The devastating fire at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia on Nov. 24 last year claimed at least 112 lives.
The workers at Mohammadpur's Smart Export Garments Ltd alleged that all exits at the factory were closed. Both the collapsible gates were reportedly locked and there were no guards. Sources said many workers were forced to jump off the factory windows.
It seems the factory, which also houses a bakery and a few garages on its ground floor, produces men's trousers and jackets for some leading global retailers and brands. But so far, no international brand or retailer has acknowledged a relationship with the factory which did not have proper fire safety measures. Although the name of the factory suggested that it was an export- oriented one, the apex body of Bangladesh's garment exporters says the factory was not affiliated with it.