The owner of the clothing factory in Bangladesh that burned to the ground last Saturday and killed 112 people made a staggering revelation earlier today. Delowar Hossain told Bangladesh's biggest English-language newspaper, The Daily Star, that he didn't know that he needed to install fire exits.
“It was my fault,” said Delowar Hossain, managing director of Tazreen Fashion Ltd, yesterday.Excuse me? In what world does a businessman worth his salt need to wait for someone to tell him to install fire exits?
“But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit which could be made accessible from outside. Nobody even advised me to install one like that, apart from the existing ones,” he argued in an exclusive interview with The Daily Star, for the first time since the deadly fire killed 111 workers at his factory on Saturday.
“I could have done it. But nobody ever suggested that I do it.”
However, Delowar tried to pass the buck. He claimed that the labor department and Walmart inspected the factory on several occasions. Supposedly, neither party objected to the lack of fire exits or the existence of a warehouse on the ground floor near the staircase. He also implied that it might have been the product of sabotage. But even if that is the case, it doesn't change the fact that this tragedy might very well have been prevented if there had been fire exits.
On a side note, Walmart says it has severed ties with a supplier who subcontracted work to the Tazreen factory. Walmart claims the subcontractor made the deal without Walmart's permission.