The owner of the Bangladesh clothes factory where 112 people died in a fire at the weekend astonishingly claimed today that he was never told the building had to have an emergency exit.
"Nobody told me that there was no emergency exit which could be made accessible from outside," said Tazreen Fashions boss Delwar Hossain.
"And nobody even advised me to install one apart from the existing ones."
Police said that they were interrogating three factory managers on possible negligence charges.
Workers said they found the exit doors were locked when they tried to escape the fire.
Bangladesh Combined Garment Workers Federation trade union president Nazma Akhter had called for the prosecution of the factory's owners and management to send a message to the industry.
"There should be a criminal case against them. It could stop the recurrence of such incidents," he said.
Labour Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said that factories no emergency exits or just one will be forced to close until they are made more safe.
In 2001 Bangladesh's High Court told the government to set up a committee to oversee the safety of garment workers after 24 were killed in a similar fire. But ministers never did so.
More than 300 people have been killed in garment factory fires since 2006.
"Had the government complied, there would have been fewer accidents," said human rights group Ain O Salish Kendra executive director Sultana Kamal.
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