At least nine workers were killed and upwards of ten were injured in two separate garment factory fires this week. Six died inside a multi-story garment factory building that caught fire in China's Henan Province, according to the Xinhua News. At least one worker, who jumped off the roof of the burning building, was killed, while many others remained trapped inside the building.
Flames engulfed the top floor of a six-story factory building in the provincial capital Zhengzhou at around 1:20 p.m., a spokesperson for the city's fire brigade said. Firefighters were unable to fully extinguish the blaze until 4 p.m. Witnesses claim they heard explosions before the fire, followed by screams for help as workers at the factory building ran to the roof in an effort to escape but got trapped by dense smoke. The factory was located in Zhengzhou National Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone.
The same day, a garment factory fire in Bangladesh claimed the lives of at least three garment workers and left five injured, police said, in the latest accident to cast a spotlight on the country's hazardous garment industry. Police officials said the fire started on the ground floor of a seven-storey building where chemicals and dyes were stored, trapping workers who were resting before their shift. "Three workers who were resting near the chemical storage unit have died of suffocation and burns," police inspector Shahidur Rahman told AFP.
An investigation into the causes of the fires (and hopefully what retailers are connected with the garment factories) is underway. The incidents come on the heels of another deadly blaze that erupted earlier this year in an H&M supplier factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh. Prior to that, in November 2012, at least 111 workers were killed when a devastating fire engulfed a nine-storey garment factory in the Ashulia industrial area, outside the capital Dhaka. The accident was followed by an even bigger tragedy six months later when 1,138 people died after the Rana Plaza clothing factory complex collapsed, trapping over 3,000 workers.