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Hong Kong firm offers compensation after deadly Bangladesh factory fire

A Hong Kong company has offered compensation to the families of workers who died in Bangladesh's worst ever garment factory fire.

Bangladesh factory rightsEnlarge
The textiles and clothing industry is Bangladesh’s biggest export earner, and the government has come under international pressure to deal with the lack of workers rights in the factories there. (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A Hong Kong sourcing company said it would pay $1,200 in compensation to the family of each worker killed in the blaze that ripped through a garment factory in Bangladesh on Saturday night, the Agence France-Presse reported today.

At least 120 people were killed in the fire at the Tazreen Fashions building located near the capital Dhaka, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing police and fire department officials.

The Indian Express put the death toll even higher at 124. 

It was the deadliest fire to ever hit the country's garment industry, the AFP said.

Hong Kong sourcing giant Li & Fung said Sunday it was "distressed" by the disaster at the factory where it placed orders and would pay the equivalent of $1,200 in compensation to the family of each victim. 

Some 12 people were reported injured by the blaze, which local television stations Boishakhi and ATN News said broke out Saturday night in the Ashulia industrial district.

It reportedly started on the ground floor of the nine-story building, trapping dozens of workers inside. 

"Many jumped out from the windows and were injured, or died on the spot," local resident Milon told Reuters

Rina Khatun, a worker who escaped the burning factory, told the WSJ that she had been able to  get out because she was on the ground floor at the time of the blaze.

"Those who were on the top floors didn't have a chance," she said.

More from GlobalPost: Bangladesh garment workers brave deadly fires to make clothing

The factory is operated by Tajnin Fashion, Fire Department Control Room Official Mohammad Ali told The Associated Press.

Bangladesh has over 4,000 garment factories, said AP, many of which are believed operated with little regard for safety standards. 

The nation is the world’s second-largest clothing exporter, its garment industry accounting for 80% of yearly exports, according to Reuters

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/bangladesh/121124/bangladesh-factory-fire-kills-at-least-8