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In Bangladesh fire, factory exit reportedly locked

A worker looked at the remains of a garment factory where a fire took the lives of seven colleagues in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The father of one victim has filed a police case.

A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

A worker looked at the remains of a garment factory where a fire took the lives of seven colleagues in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The father of one victim has filed a police case.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh’s government has ordered an investigation into allegations that the sole emergency exit was locked at a garment factory where a fire killed seven female workers, an official said Sunday.

The fire Saturday at the Smart Export Garment Ltd. factory occurred just two months after a blaze killed 112 workers in another factory near the capital, raising questions about safety in Bangladesh’s garment industry, which exports clothes to leading Western retailers. The gates of that factory were locked.

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Government official Jahangir Kabir Nanak said an investigation has been ordered into the cause of Saturday’s fire and allegations that the emergency exit was locked.

Altaf Hossain, father of a garment worker killed in the latest fire, has filed a police case against three directors of the factory, accusing them of negligence involving the fire, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Sub-inspector Shamsul Hoque told the Associated Press on Sunday. He said police had begun an investigation. Doctors said most of the victims died from asphyxiation.

‘‘When I tried to escape through the emergency exit I found the gate locked,’’ Raushan Ara, a worker at the factory, was quoted as saying by Dhaka’s Prothom Alo newspaper.

The newspaper said at least 50 people were injured in a stampede triggered by the fire. Six were hospitalized, while others received first aid treatment on their own.

Some of the injured jumped out of the windows of the two-story factory, survivors said.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Monzurul Kabir said the bodies of seven women were recovered from the top floor of the ­factory.

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