The boiler explosion death toll at a Bangladeshi garment factory has risen to 10. Another 40 people have undergone treatment. The blast after maintenance checks happened while most workers were still away on holiday.
Multifabs Limited said its boiler exploded Monday night, collapsing a section of its multi-story factory in the district of Gazipur on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Equipment was being restarted after a 10-day shutdown over Eid, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Rescuers found seven bodies in rubble, said fire service officials Tuesday. Three other victims died in hospital.
Reuters quoted Multifabs as saying the six-year-old boiler, procured from Germany, had just been serviced while some 50 people were in the building.
"After servicing when workers were trying to restart it, it went off," said Mahiuddin Faruqui, the company's chairman.
"If it had happened today [Tuesday], God forbid, there might have been more casualties," said the factory's operations manager Mesba Faruqui.
Bangladeshi authorities said two separate panels had been appointed to identify the cause of the disaster. Work at 10 adjacent factories had been suspended.
Supplies European chains
Multifabs buyers included Aldi of Germany and Rexholm of Denmark, Littlewoods of Britain, and the Finnish fashion chain Lindex. Daily output is normally 100,000 garment pieces, according to Reuters.
Bangladesh's government and foreign buyers have been under pressure to improve conditions since the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013 when more than 1,100 people were killed.
The chief executive of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Sulav Chowdhury, said the industry had gone through a "huge shift."
"There has been structural change, and we have worked hard for it," Chowdhury said, adding that the Multifab blast appeared to ahve been a "stray incident."
ipj/se (dpa, Reuters, AFP)