Dense smoke from a fire at an embroidery factory in India killed four workers by asphyxiation and injured at least three others on Wednesday. The flames sparked on the ground floor of a four-story industrial building near the city of Surat around 8:00 a.m. local time. Soon, garments kept at the factory were ablaze. According to reports, thick smoke quickly spread to the building’s top floor where 19 laborers were sleeping in unventilated quarters. While 12 people were rescued, four perished and three were rushed to a hospital with injuries.
Fire and police officials are investigating what caused the fire to flare. Preliminarily, officials say negligence on the part of the factory or builders may have contributed to the tragedy.
“No fire safety equipment was installed in the building, which is eight months old,” Raju Gamit, a divisional fire officer, told The Hindu newspaper. “There was no ventilation in the building. The fire was small, but the smoke was dense. The smoke engulfed the entire building within a few seconds, making it difficult for people to escape.” Gamit continued: “There seems to be no sabotage. But, we are investigating from all angles. Two firefighters were used in the operation and the fire was brought under control in 45 minutes.”