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H&M Factory Fire In Bangladesh Kills 21

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A fire at the Garib & Garib Newaj company factory in Bangladesh--which produces cardigans for H&M--killed 21 employees and injured another 50 people last Thursday, the Independent UK reports:

The fire started at about 9pm at the factory at Gazipur, 50km north of the capital Dhaka on Thursday last week, trapping dozens of workers who were knitting jumpers. Eleven fire engines fought for more than two hours to bring the blaze under control. Thirteen of the dead were women, according to doctors.

Various reports from Bangladesh said that the factory had "useless fire safety equipment," as do many clothing factories in the area that supply Western retailers. There was another fire at Garib & Garib last August.

H&M audited the factory in October, finding no serious problems, and said the company relies on local groups, like the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association to ensure workers' safety. On Monday, H&M released the following statement:

"In general we have been satisfied with Garib & Garib's way of working with our code of conduct. As far as we know this terrible accident was not caused by poor working conditions or safety measures. When it comes to general working conditions in Bangladesh, we believe that being present in the country is the way we can make a change long-term."

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