shutterstock_130630991Thursday night, a fire broke out in a garment factory in the Mirpur area of Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed eight people. No workers were in the building at the time. Officials say that the building owner, four of his staff members, and a senior and low-level police officer died when they were overcome by toxic fumes from the burning clothes as they tried to escape down a stairwell. There is no word about what caused the fire, and fire fighters were able to keep the blaze contained to a single floor. The government closed 18 garment factoriesout of safety concerns on Wednesday. Six have been cleared to reopen.

The fire comes as rescue officials announce that the death toll from the Savar Building collapse on April 24 has reached 912. More bodies are expected to be uncovered when rescue workers begin to search the basement of the building. Nine people have been arrested in connection with the collapse. An initial investigation found that the top four floors of the eight story building had been constructed illegally without permits. The factories also opened despite a crack discovered in the building. Approximately 80% of the garment factory workforce in Bangladesh are women who are often responsible for providing for their families. Under grueling working conditions, workers in garment factories can make as little as $26 a month.

Media Resources: Al Jazeera 5/9/2013; BBC 5/9/2013; Reuters 5/9/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/7/2013

Map of Bangladesh Faso filled with the national flag from Shutterstock

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