• Monday, Dec 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

ED: How many more fires must we endure?

  • Published at 08:58 pm July 9th, 2021
Shezan Factory Fire
Members of the Fire Service and Civil Defence seen recovering a dead body from the the Hashem Foods Ltd factory in Rupganj, Narayanganj, on July 9, 2021 Mehedi Hasan/ Dhaka Tribune

The fire continued despite the efforts of 18 fire-fighting units

At this point, it seems futile to even ask the question of whether we truly value human life, as yet another fire devastates a factory in Narayanganj. 

The fire, which broke out around 5pm on Thursday at a Shezan juice factory, is perhaps the culmination of a culture of recklessness and impunity which has ensured that we as a nation never learn.

There is no confirmation yet of how it began, thanks to the relentless nature of the flames which engulfed the factory floors -- no doubt fuelled by a plethora of factory chemicals.

What is perhaps even more concerning, is the fact that the fire continued despite the efforts of 18 fire-fighting units for close to a day, showing just how unprepared we are to fight disasters of this scale. 

Even though the precise cause remains uncertain, there can be little doubt that greed and indifference have led to the circumstances which not only caused the fire, but prevented workers from the factory to get to safety.

Workers inside the factory were met with an impossible choice, and sometimes with no choice at all: Some were forced to jump off the second and third floors of the factory in order to save themselves, falling to a likely death, while others found that the front gate was locked and that there was no way for them to escape the flames and the fumes.

This tragedy highlights not only the authorities’ inability and incompetence in ensuring that buildings across the country meet the standards of safety, but it also shows us how little we care for the millions of workers on whose hard work we as a nation have been able to progress so far.

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