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13 killed in Indian garment factory fire

Three more people were injured in the Ghaziabad blaze

13 people were suffocated and burned to death in a fire that broke out at an illegal garment factory in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India in the early hours of Friday morning. 11 of the casualties were under the age of 26, while three more people sustained injuries in the incident. 

According to local police, the fire began at a jacket manufacturing unit. “Initial investigation revealed that the fire broke out due to an electric short circuit,” said Salmantaj Patil, SP City, Ghaziabad. “The place had been taken on rent and winter jackets were being manufactured there. The rexine and foam used in jackets would have caught fire easily and generate a lot of smoke.” 

While the fire department were called at 5.20am, it is understood that they were severely delayed because of how narrow the roads were and how densely populated the area was, and didn’t get there for two hours.

According to The Hindu, those killed in the fire include: Aamir (24), Allaudeen (23), Asmat (22), Azad (25), Chotte (35), Mobin (23), Naazim (25), Naseem (20), Nigehbaan (21), Noor Mohammad (30), Salman (24), Shamoon (24), and Zakib (26).

The Uttar Pradesh government will be issuing compensation of Rs 200,000 (the equivalent of around £2,400) to the families of each person who died in the incident. “The state government has announced this compensation and we are in the process of issuing it to the families,” Nidhi Kesarwani, Ghaziabad district magistrate, told The Indian Express.

As for the owners of the factory – two people who go by the names of Rizwan and Nazakat – they have been arrested for “causing death under negligence”. To help prevent a similar incident happening again, a committee has been formed which will look into similar factories operating in the area. 

This is the most recent example of an unsafe garment factory where cheap clothes are often made and sold in the West – a topic which was recently explored in a BBC documentary (This World, Clothes to Die For) about those who survived the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh.