Bangladesh blaze: factory owners arrested

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Bangladeshi police have arrested eight people including the owners and top executives of a food processing factory after at least 52 workers were killed in a devastating fire.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan announced the arrests at the site of the accident, and warned no one would be spared if the investigators found negligence had led to the loss of so many lives.

Many of those who were killed in the fire that swept through Hashem Food and Beverage on Thursday were trapped on the fourth floor, unable to escape because at least one exit door was locked.

It took firefighters more than 20 hours to extinguish the blaze at the six-storey building in Rupganj, in the Narayanganj district located 20km southeast of the capital Dhaka.

Before the arrests, a case was filed against the owners and executives of the factory, accusing them of culpable homicide, chief of district police Zayadul Alam said.

Abul Hashem, chairman and managing director of Sajeeb Group which owns the factory, and its chief operating officer Shahan Shah Azad, were arrested in Dhaka, he said.

Hashem's four sons, who are directors of the company, a manager and a civil engineer were also taken into custody for interrogation, he added.

Earlier in the morning, the firefighters called off a search operation that had been launched after they had extinguished the flames.

"We did not find anyone alive or dead inside the debris and called off the operation," official Saleh Uddin said.

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