A massive blaze gutted a 10-story garment factory in Bangladesh on Friday, adding a fresh stain to the local garment industry’s already blotchy work safety record. Reuters reports that 22 firefighting units were dispatched to the scene of the fire in Gazipur, 25 miles outside of the capital Dhaka.
No casualties were immediately reported as officials looked into the possibility that the fire was set intentionally. “We think it’s an act of arson committed by workers from both inside the factory complex and outside,” Mosharraf Hossain, a senior officer in the Industrial Police force, told the AFP news agency.
Officials said the flames had spread to four neighboring buildings. A garment industry spokesman told Reuters that 18,000 people employed at the factory, one of the largest in the country, now face the prospect of lay-offs. A Reuters photographers said charred garments bore the names of many Western brands, including Gap, Walmart and Uniqlo.
Concern over a series of workplace disasters spiked in April after the Rana Plaza collapse killed more than 1,100 workers.