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
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)

(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.)

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Dec 7, 2012 12:39 PM CST
Corporations are perfectly capable of regulating themselves...
Dec 7, 2012 11:01 AM CST
In our country regulations are dirty words to some people as they feel we have way too many of them interfering with the running of businesses. What has happened in Bangladesh is why we have regulations. Hopefully the government of Bangladesh will see the wisdom of hiring more inspectors and keep up with what is going on in the factories.
Dec 7, 2012 7:10 AM CST
I don't understand how in any govt if a building is deemed to be unsafe especially in case of a fire why is it allowed to be opened at all until said issue is rectified?