About 200 readymade garment factories in the district are vulnerable to fire and the buildings they are housed in lack adequate firefighting system. After a number of fire incidents in the capital, Gazipur Fire Service is identifying risky buildings and trying to take action against their owners but these moves are not enough.
A number of workers said that their workplaces do not have permanent fire extinguishing system.
There is not enough water pumps, gas masks, exit system and fire extinguishing equipment in many factories. Although some factories have fire extinguishers, they are expired and are kept only for the show.
Gazipur fire service hung fire risk banners at Wasif Knit Composite Limited in Bhogra area, May Fashion Limited in Habibullah Bhaban, Sustext BD Ltd factory in Peyara Bagan area, Shapla Mansion in Chandona area and Rahman Shopping Mall recently.
But the factory authorities did not take any initiative and instead removed the banners.
Md Akhtaruzzaman, deputy director of Gazipur Fire Service, said that safety rules were largely ignored during construction of most of the 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,” he added.