Bangladesh garment factory fire was sabotage made worse by owner's negligence
A four-member Bangladesh government committee investigating the garment factory fire that killed 112 people has concluded that the blaze was sabotage, probably by someone who worked there.
The panel said that no matter who set the fire, the owner of the factory should also be punished for the deaths because he neglected worker safety.
"If someone is responsible for such a huge number of deaths, that's him. He has failed to ensure safety," committee head Mainuddin Khandaker said of factory owner Delwar Hossain.
According to Fox News, some government and garment industry officials had alleged soon after the November 24 fire that it was an 'act of sabotage'.
A fire official, however, said that casualties could have been greatly reduced if the factory had followed safety rules.
The factory lacked emergency exits and Hossain has said only three floors of the eight-story building were legally built.
Surviving employees said gates had been locked and managers had told them to go back to work after the fire alarm went off.
The committee submitted its report to the government on Monday, and at least two other investigations are continuing.
Khandaker, an official with the Ministry of Home Affairs, told an international news agency that committee members believe some people who worked at the factory were involved in the sabotage.
"Otherwise, how come they locked the gates? How come they asked the workers to go back to work even after the fire alarm?" he said.
Three factory officials suspected of locking workers inside the building were arrested days after the fire and remain in custody.
Khandaker said the panel recommended further investigation through a 'powerful intelligence agency' to expose the insiders.
No matter who is responsible for setting the fire, Khandaker said that "We can't spare the owner of the factory.
"He is responsible for his failure to ensure safety. I have recommended specifically bringing the owner under the purview of law," he said.
According to the report, the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory made clothing for several major U.S. retailers, including Wal-Mart, which had received a 2011 audit warning about the factory's conditions.