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Report: Investigation Ordered into Latest Bangladesh Factory Fire

Bangladeshi garment worker Laiju stands inside the damaged Smart Export Garment Ltd. factory where a fire Saturday claimed the lives of seven of her female colleagues in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013.
An official in Bangladesh says the government has ordered an investigation into allegations that the only emergency exit was locked at a garment factory where a fire on Saturday killed seven female workers.
The Associated Press cites a government official, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, as saying an inquiry has been ordered into the cause of the blaze and the contention about the exit.
Dhaka police inspector Shamsul Hoque told the AP Sunday that Altaf Hossain, father of a garment worker killed in the fire, has filed a case against three directors of the factory, accusing them of negligence.
Saturday's fire at the Smart Export Garment Ltd. factory occurred just two months after a blaze killed 112 workers in another factory near the capital, raising questions about safety in Bangladesh’s garment industry, which exports clothes to leading Western retailers. The gates of that factory were locked.
Also Sunday, three international labor rights groups called for global clothing retailers to ensure improved safety measures for garment workers in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has about 4,000 garment factories that make clothes for international brands. The country earns about $20 billion annually from overseas clothing sales, roughly 80 percent of its exports.
Work conditions in the country's garment factories are notoriously poor. Officials say at least 500 people have died in Bangladeshi garment factory accidents and fires since 2006. Activists say plant owners are rarely prosecuted for poor safety conditions.

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