Workers: Managers Locked Us in Burning Factory

3 supervisors arrested on suspicion of negligence
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2012 7:30 AM CST
Workers: Managers Locked Us in Burning Factory
Bangladeshis and firefighters battle a fire at a garment factory in the Savar neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh, late Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.   (AP Photo/Polash Khan)

Survivors of the devastating Bangladesh garment factory fire tell a harrowing tale to human rights and labor groups: As the alarms sounded, managers—assuming it was a false alarm and not wanting workers to leave—shut the security gates, locking workers inside. The police and fire departments confirmed the "gates were locked on each floor," a director of one human rights group tells ABC News. "The fire department said they had to come in with bolt cutters to cut the locks." Three supervisors have been arrested, accused of locking the exits and keeping workers from escaping, the BBC reports.

The owner of the factory, meanwhile, told the Daily Star newspaper "it was my fault," the AP reports. But he says he was never told the factory should have an emergency exit. The government is still calling the fire an act of sabotage, and police have also arrested two people seen on video attempting to start a fire in another factory, Reuters reports. There was also a fire at another factory Monday and an explosion at a third facility Tuesday, leading to concerns that someone is trying to sabotage the entire industry. Meanwhile, protests are raging near Dhaka for the third day, with thousands of textile workers demanding safer work conditions. (More Bangladesh stories.)

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