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Fire Service: Minister factory lacked proper safety measures despite hazard notice

  • Published at 01:09 am September 14th, 2019
File Photo shows a fire has broken out at the Minister Electronics factory in Gazipur on Friday, September 13, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Probe committee formed as factory authorities dodge queries

A massive fire yesterday gutted two floors of a six-storey factory of Minister Hi-Tech Park Ltd, a sister concern of Myone Electronics, in Gazipur’s Dhirasram area.

A total of 18 fire-fighting units battled for seven hours to douse the flames that erupted around 7am in a warehouse on the fifth floor of the electronics home appliances manufacturing plant.

Fire Service and Civil Defence officials have said that the building lacked proper fire safety measures, even after they sent a hazard notice to the factory authorities three weeks ago in this regard.

The district administration has also formed a committee to investigate the incident, which luckily did not lead to any casualty as there were no workers on those floors yesterday, a weekly holiday.

The fire-fighting units from Joydebpur and Tongi managed to douse the fire around 2:15pm, said Gazipur Fire Service’s Deputy Assistant Director Mamunur Rashid.

He said they were yet to determine the source of the fire and how much damage it caused.

The fire originated on the fifth floor of the factory, and then went to engulf and damage both fourth and fifth floors, Mamunur added.

Motalib Mia, assistant inspector general of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments’ Tongi unit, said they did not find any fire extinguishing equipment in the building during a recent inspection.

"There was a violation of the regulations on the fifth floor of the warehouse. The factory authorities also did not conducted fire drills regularly.

“We alerted the owners with a notice around three weeks ago. They did not respond," he said, and added that the department would take appropriate action against the factory.

Gazipur district administration later in the day formed a seven-member committee to investigate the fire.

Deputy Commissioner SM Tarikul Islam said the committee was told to submit its findings within seven working days.

Owners dodge queries

Meanwhile, the owner and officials of the MyOne Electronics and Minister Hi-Tech Park Ltd have abstained from addressing the matter of lack of fire safety and fighting measures in the factory.

MA Razzak, chairman of MyOne Electronics and Minister Hi-Tech Park Limited, did not respond when asked about the six-storey building not having proper fire extinguishing arrangements.

However, he said: "We are still trying to figure out how the fire started on the fifth floor.”

Rafiqul Islam, deputy general manager of the factory, and company spokesperson KMG Kibria both said an unknown number of electronic products including microwave ovens, irons, rice cookers and LED TVs, were stored in the warehouse on the sixth floor.

But none of them could provide an estimated value of the goods gutted.

Rafiqul also dodged question regarding the lack of fire safety and fighting measures in the factory, which according to him employs 2,000 workers.