28 Apr 2013

Fire breaks out in Bangladesh factory wreckage

Rescuers battling to free survivors from the rubble in Dhaka are forced to stop as smoke pours from the shattered concrete.

A fire in the wreckage of the garment factory is believed to have been caused by sparks from rescuers trying to cut through a steel rod to reach a survivor. Emergency crews are now battling to bring the fire under control.

Rescuers have withdrawn from the area of the fire but rescue attempts continue in others areas around the building.

Border arrest

Mohammed Sohel Rana, a leader of the ruling Awami League’s youth front, was arrested today by the elite Rapid Action Battalion in the Bangladesh border town of Benapole, Dhaka District Police Chief Habibur Rahman said.

His arrest on the border follows the arrest of four other men linked to the building on Saturday – two engineers and two factory bosses.

It comes as rescuers continue to battle to pull survivors from the wreckage of the garment factory, which collapsed close to the capital Dhaka four days ago. As time goes by hopes of finding more people alive are beginning to falter and the death toll has climbed to 377.

However, four people were pulled out alive earlier today as rescuers continued their frantic battle to save those trapped under the mound of broken concrete and metal in the wake of the country’s worst-ever industrial accident.

Owner arrested in Bangladesh factory collapse tragedy as death toll rises (Getty)

Missing people

As many as 900 people are still missing after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, which housed several factories making low-cost garments for western retailers such as Primark.

“The chances of finding people alive are dimming, so we have to step up our rescue operation to save any valuable life we can,” said Major General Chowdhury Hassan Sohrawardi, coordinator of the operation at the site.

About 2,500 people have been rescued from the wrecked building in the commercial suburb of Savar, about 30 km (20 miles) from the capital, Dhaka.

The tragedy has raised questions over the real costs of low-price fashion in the west, as well as sparking demonstrations and calls for a general strike in Bangladesh in protest at the lax safety conditions for many workers.