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8 Killed in Bangladesh Garment Factory Fire

A company official stands in front of a factory belonging to Tung Hai Group, a large garment exporter, after a fire in Dhaka, May 9, 2013.
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.

Deadly Accidents in Bangladesh

April 2013: Building housing garment factories in Savar collapses, kills 1,127
November 2012: Garment factory fire outside Dhaka kills more than 100
March 2012: Ferry sinks after colliding with oil barge, killing more than 100
April 2005: Garment factory collapse in Savar kills more than 70
May 2002: River ferry sinks, killing up to 500
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.