After a number of fire incidents in the capital, the Gazipur Fire Service is identifying risky buildings and trying to take action against their owners but these moves are not sufficient
About 200 readymade garment factories in Gazipur are vulnerable to fire and the buildings they are housed in, lack adequate firefighting systems.
After a number of fire incidents in the capital, the Gazipur Fire Service is identifying risky buildings and trying to take action against their owners but these moves are not sufficient.
The fire service has claimed that they are not receiving enough response from the management and workers of the factories in their awareness installments. With a risk to lose million-dollar worth property, millions of workers are in severe danger as well.
Gazipur Fire Service has set up fire-related awareness posters and banners in factories and buildings to raise awareness. Fire Service confirmed their ongoing mission to prevent fire hazards will be in action until the risk diminishes.
Gazipur Fire Service hung fire risk banners at Wasif Knit Composite Limited in the Bhogra area, May Fashion Limited in Habibullah Bhaban, Sustext BD Ltd factory in the Peyara Bagan area, Shapla Mansion in the Chandona area and Rahman Shopping Mall recently.
But the factory authorities have not taken any initiatives and instead removed the banners.
A number of workers said that their workplaces do not have permanent fire extinguishing system.
There are not enough water pumps, gas masks, exit systems and fire extinguishing equipment in many factories. Although some factories have fire extinguishers, they are expired and are kept only for show.
Deputy Director of the Gazipur Fire Service Md Akhtaruzzaman, said that safety rules were largely ignored during the construction of most buildings. "We're writing to them [building owners] repeatedly but aren't getting any response," he said.
"Twenty percent of the garments and other factories are at the risk of fire," he said. "Though we've alerted several factories, they paid no heed. After inspection, several risky buildings were identified and banners were hung. Now, mobile court drives will be conducted soon."
He said that taking fire safety clearance is mandatory after constructing a building. But most of the buildings do not have such clearance.
In some cases, the buildings have clearance certificates but lack firefighting equipment, leading to the loss of lives and properties, Akhtaruzzaman said.
"We must follow the rules and make the factories safe places to work in," he added.