Burned-Out Garment Factory Lost Fire Clearance in June

And the owner cites 'mental condition' for illegally adding five floors to building

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 7, 2012 7:07 AM CST

(Newser) – On the heels of one awful revelation, another, and another: It turns out the Bangladesh factory that has now entered the history books as the site of the country's deadliest garment fire lost its fire safety certification five months before the blaze occurred. A fire official told the AP that after the certification expired on June 30, an updated one was not granted because the building lacked the proper safety features; he provided no further details on the violations (though the lack of fire exits probably tops the list).

The official did explain the typical process after certification is lost: The factory owner is given time to rectify the problems, after which the fire department can file a court case arguing it should be shuttered—but that rarely happens. "We need to follow a protracted legal battle, always there is pressure because the owners are influential. They can manage everything," he said. And speaking of owners, the Tazreen factory's owner tells the AP that he had permission to build a three-story building, but had added an extra five floors and had started construction on a ninth. Why? "My mental condition is not good, I am under pressure, please don't ask me anything else." (The New York Times shares interviews with survivors in a lengthy piece out today.)

A Bangladeshi policeman stands inside the damaged Tazreen garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaha, Bangladesh, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
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