Officials in Bangladesh say at least eight people died in a garment factory fire in the capital late Wednesday.
The fire erupted in the Tung Hai Sweater Factory in Dhaka's Mirpur district after most workers had gone home.
Authorities say police and garment factory officials were holding a meeting in the 11-story building when the fire broke out.
Earlier Wednesday, the Bangladesh government said it had shut down 18 garment factories for safety reasons following the April 24 collapse of a building housing five garment factories. The death toll from that incident has risen to more than 900.
Bangladesh's $20-billion textile industry accounts for nearly 80 percent of the country's exports.
The U. S. state department says it held a conference call with U.S. buyers of Bangladesh ready-made garments Wednesday and urged them to work together with factory owners, labor organizations and the Bangladesh government to improve labor safety and the lives or working people. In a statement the department said it encouraged the buyers to coordinate their efforts, which might include paying for independent safety and fire inspectors.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
A garment worker inspects a factory after a fire, Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 9, 2013.
Members of the Criminal Investigation Department inspect a factory after a deadly fire occurred, Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 9, 2013.
A fire fighter works outside a factory where a deadly fire occurred in Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 9, 2013.
Relatives of garment workers gather in front of a factory after a fire, Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 9, 2013.