Bangladesh factory owner charged with murder after 52 die in fire



Police in Bangladesh have arrested on murder charges the owner of a factory where at least 52 people died in a massive fire, as it emerged that children as young as 11 had been working there.

Four of the owner’s sons were also among the eight people detained overall on Saturday over the inferno that broke out on Thursday and raged for more than a day. A separate inquiry has been launched into the use of child labour at the facility.

Emergency services told Al Jazeera they had recovered 49 of the bodies at the Hashem Food and Beverage factory in Rupganj, an industrial town 25km (15 miles) east of the capital, Dhaka. Three people also died after jumping out of the building.

The charred victims were piled in a fleet of ambulances and taken to mortuaries amid anguished shouts and tears from people watching in the streets.

Jayedul Alam, police chief for Narayanganj district where the factory is located, said the entrance had been padlocked at the time of the blaze and the factory breached multiple fire and safety regulations.

A fire services spokesman also said the exit door to the main staircase had been padlocked. Highly flammable chemicals and plastics had also been stored in the building.