26 Nov 2012

Death toll from Bangladesh factory blaze soars

11:00 pm on 26 November 2012

More than 100 workers have been killed in a fierce blaze which tore through a garment factory in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, forcing people to leap from high windows to escape choking smoke and flames.

AAP reports that firefighters battled for several hours to control the fire, which broke out in the ground-floor warehouse of the nine-storey factory.

Survivors told how panicked staff, mostly women, desperately tried to escape the blazing building, which made clothes for international brands.

"There were more than 1000 workers trapped in the factory," one worker told local media from her hospital bed.

"I jumped from a window on the fourth floor and found myself on the third storey roof of another building. Several people fell out of the window and died."

Thousands of angry workers have taken part in protests in Dhaka, demanding justice for their colleagues who died

It is unclear what caused the fire, but fires as a result of short circuits and shoddy electrical wiring are common in Bangladeshi garment factories, which use cheap labour to produce clothes shipped to Western countries.

There are around 4500 factories in Bangladesh, employing more than two million people.