Fire at Bangladesh plastics factory kills 13, injures 21

Police in Bangladesh say a fire at a plastics factory near the capital has killed at least 13 people and injured 21 others

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A fire at a plastics factory near Bangladesh's capital has killed at least 13 people and injured 21 others, police said Thursday.

The fire occurred Wednesday at the Prime Plastic Industries factory in Keraniganj, said Mohammaed Bacchu Mia, a police official stationed at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

He said one person died at the scene and 12 others succumbed to their injuries in the hospital on Thursday.

Doctors at the hospital said some of the injured were in critical condition.

The fire department was investigating the cause of the blaze.

Nasrul Hamid, a lawmaker from the area, said the tin-shed factory had no approval from authorities to operate. Some of the workers told local media that an explosion of a gas cylinder may have caused the fire.

Bangladesh has a tragic history of industrial disasters.

Earlier this year, a fire in the oldest part of Dhaka, a 400-year-old area cramped with apartments, shops and warehouses, left at least 67 people dead. In another fire in March, at least 25 people died when a multistory commercial building was engulfed in flames.

In 2012, a fire raced through a garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka, killing at least 112 people trapped behind its locked gates.

Another fire in Old Dhaka in a house illegally storing chemicals killed at least 123 people in 2010.

The Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association, a non-profit group, says at least 16,000 fires across Bangladesh in the last decade killed about 1,590 people, according to data compiled from the fire department and other government and media reports.