India: Fire deaths in denim factory that had no way out
On February 8 this year, workers in an Indian denim factory struggled to claw their way up a ladder to a door, their only exit, as a fire blazed through fabric and machinery. Seven people were killed in the firein the two-storey factory on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Nandan Denim is one of the largest denim suppliers in the world. According to its website, the company has ties to major international retailers saying it supplies jeans, denim and other garments to more than 20 global brands including Target, Ann Taylor, Mango and Wrangler, with a sister company supplying Walmart and H&M. Some of the multinational companies listed said they were not customers, and many issued statements strongly condemning dangerous work sites.
Rajesh Bhatt, a senior fire official at the scene, said the factory had just one door that could only be reached by climbing a steep ladder. The workers, Bhatt said, were resting after long shifts when the fire started. “There were hardly any means of escape from the blaze,” he said. Police investigators said the factory had violated multiple regulations and the owner, a manager and a fire safety officer have been arrested. Local safety and health authorities asked the company to close the factory until further notice. Its licences have been suspended, and Nandan Denim has agreed to pay the families of those killed a reported US$14,000 (AD$21,227) each.
Read more: AP News. Washington Post. New York Times. Nandan Denim. Source: Risks 935