The International Labor Rights Forum (IlRF) is reporting that 21 workers were killed in a fire at the Garib & Garib Sweater Factory in Bangladesh on February 25, 2010. The factory (or as more correctly described, sweatshop) manufactures sweaters for Swedish H&M, Canadian Mark’s Work Wearhouse, and Italian Teddy.
According to the ILRF:
“A government-authorized probe into the cause of the fire said the fire was started by an electric short-circuit on the second floor of the factory. It quickly spread to the other floors filled with inflammable materials such as wool threads and other goods. Lasting nearly two hours, the fire created a thick black smoke and consumed the oxygen in the air, suffocating the workers. The smoke could not escape because of poor ventilation and the presence of unauthorized sheet metal structures that were being used for storage of highly inflammable materials on the roof of the building. Workers could not escape because exits were locked and materials blocked the stairways. The factory’s fire-fighting equipment was “virtually useless”, according to the Dhaka Fire Service and Civil Defence, and reportedly none of the security guards on duty knew how to operate fire extinguishers and hydrants.”
And if you want to get involved with fighting sweatshops right here in Houston but don’t know how to go about it, go to Sweat Free Houston webpage and see how you can join them. Or just shoot an email to sweatfreehouston (at) gmail (dot) com. You’ll be glad you did.