Wal-Mart labels were found in the burned-down Tazreen Fashions factory, where at least 112 workers lost their lives. Two days after the fire, on Nov. 26, 2012, Wal-Mart said in a statement that the factory no longer was authorized to produce merchandise for Wal-Mart, but documentation dated September 2012 indicates that more than one-third of the company’s production lines were dedicated to Wal-Mart garments, according to the “Fatal Fashion” report.
“Fatal Fashion,” a new report by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) and the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), analyzes two recent garment factory fires in Pakistan and Bangladesh that claimed the lives of more than 400 workers. In September 2012, a fire raged at Ali Enterprises in Karachi and in November 2012, a factory fire broke out at Tazreen Fashions Limited in Dhaka. The two companies produce clothing for well-known European and American clothing brands and retailers, including KIK, C&A and Wal-Mart.
In addition to the hundreds of workers who died, many others were severely injured. Sub-standard buildings, poor emergency procedures, blocked fire exits, overcrowded workplaces and vastly inadequate control and auditing practices resulted in an extremely high death and injury toll.
Mohammad Saleem, 32, who broke a leg after jumping out of the second floor of the Ali Enterprises building, said he and his colleagues were hard at work on the day of he fire when “suddenly, the entire floor filled with fire and smoke and the heat was so intense that we rushed towards the windows, broke its steel grille and glass and jumped out,” Saleem said.
Another survivor, Allah Warayo, said there was a stampede as the fire spread. He ended up jumping from the third floor, but five members of his family did not escape. “We started running towards the exit. There were 150-200 people all running and pushing each other. I fell down unconscious. Then I managed to get some air from a vent. I started screaming. A crane made a hole in the wall and I was able to jump. I begged the rescue workers to help my relatives, but noone paid any attention.”
Are Wal-Mart’s Clothes Washed in Blood? New Report Analyzes Two Garment Factory Fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan