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      Volume 11 |Issue 47| November 30, 2012 |


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Rethinking a Recurring Result


A fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia on the evening of 24 November 2012.
It was not the first time that a garments factory was struck by fire.
We can only pray it will be the last.
For that all concerned persons and groups have to make an effort too.
There were first about eleven known dead, as carried by most newspapers the morning after.

As the day broke it emerged that what appeared to be dark black piles behind the smoke and during the night were in fact bodies.

Mid-morning news by SMS broke that 124 garment workers, mostly women, were dead.
A recount confirmed 109 dead. Later it climbed further.
We can only pray there will be no more.
The Fire DG said there was no extinguishing equipment in the factory.
Workers claimed supervisors impeded their escape

The windows were heavily grilled up. At least one was broken by force by some who braved the odds to save their own lives and that of others.

It only went to show how even a small opening can save lives.
But the door to the outside was locked, again.
Taka one lakh per dead has been announced as compensation.
Four committees have been formed.
A national mourning day has been declared on 27 November.
The dead shall not return.
Their kith and kin shall mourn on, alone.
Only they can feel the pain those who have lost a loved one.

When in a building people die in any incident, it is because they could not escape. Period.
If they could, they would have broken, if necessary, even the walls and jumped.
Some did, only to find their death.
Many were charred beyond recognition.
The fire spread so fast that the workers could not move.
Others died of smoke inhalation.
The fire spread from the ground floor to the upper floors.
Fire does spread by flue effect if it finds an opening.
It is essential to make compartments so that fire and smoke does not spread.
The factory was not designed to restrict fire and smoke within a prescribed limited area.

That was wrong. That was what caused the tragedy at Tazreen, the spread.
Once again a 'short circuit' is being blamed for the deaths in a fire.
Short circuits do not fall from the sky.
They are created due to the negligence of man.
Was the electrical design inadequate? Who did it?
Were poor materials used in the electrical installation? Who did it?
Was the installation done poorly? Who did it?
Was there no maintenance? Who did not do it?
Was there an electrical overloading? Who did it?
There is no magic in the fabled “two stairs”.

Two stairs sufficing one hundred people in a four-storied building will not be sufficient for five hundred people in an eight-storied building. And people will die. They will not be able to escape.

The larger, the higher and the more populous a building, more and more stairs will have to be provided.

Let them, who sacrifice so much for the profit of an establishment, escape to their loved ones.
This tragedy, the worst fire in our history, cannot be swept away as an accident.
There are too many deliberately created coincidences.
The dead shall not return to ask questions.
They may haunt the conscience of only the conscientious.



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