20 killed, 50 injured as packaging factory goes up in flames

At least 20 people have been killed and 50 injured after a fire engulfed a packaging factory north of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.

The Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported on Saturday that the fire erupted due to a boiler explosion at the Tampako Packaging Factory in the industrial town of Tongi, 20km north of the capital.

Citing hospital officials, the paper said the bodies of 17 people were taken to a nearby hospital while three others succumbed to their injuries while undergoing treatment.

Michael Shipper, the secretary of the Labour and Employment Ministry, told Al Jazeera that the death toll stood at 22.

About 100 people are believed to have been working at the building when flames tore through the four-storey factory.

A series of deadly incidents have raised concern over safety standards in the South Asian country’s factories.

Working conditions have been described as notoriously poor, with little enforcement of safety laws, while overcrowding and locked fire doors are common.

A fire at a plastics factory last year killed 13, and in 2013 more than 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse, Bangladesh’s worst industrial accident.

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