Factory Owners Charged With Murder Following Fire that Killed 52 Workers

The owners of a business in Bangladesh where 52 workers died in a fire have been arrested and charged with murder. The fire occurred in a juice factory last week in the town of Rupganj.

Among the 52 fatalities were as many as 16 children, some as young as 11 years old. Not all of the bodies have been recovered.

Md Abul Hashem and his four sons were arrested by police, who referred to the fire as “deliberate murder”. Hashem is the CEO of Sajeeb Group, the company that owns the factory. According to Insider.com, the building housed plastics and chemicals that were highly flammable, and had an exit that had been padpocked.

UNICEF Bangladesh issued a formal statement about the fire:

  • This tragic incident brings to light yet again that despite laws that should protect them, many children in Bangladesh are not only working, but they are working in hazardous conditions.
  • According to the Bangladesh Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2019, over four million children are working, and more than three million of these children are trapped in the worst forms of child labour that involve hazardous working conditions.
  • The horrific deaths and suffering, which could have been avoided, are a stark reminder that all stakeholders must act now to protect children and must enforce compliance with the Children Act 2013, as well as child labour and occupational safety laws.

Rupganj is just outside of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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