A fire at a factory in Bangladesh has killed 12 people

Updated: 

A boiler has exploded and triggered a fire at a packaging factory in Bangladesh - leaving at least 12 people dead and 16 injured, officials said.

Fire official Mohammed Rafiquzzaman said several bodies have been recovered from the explosion at a factory in the Tongi industrial area outside Dhaka.

A doctor on duty at Tongi Hospital said nine bodies were in the mortuary as officials waited for family members to identify them.

Bangladesh factory fire
(A.M. Ahad/AP)

Police said 19 people were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where three succumbed to burn injuries sustained in the fire.

Factory safety is a major concern in Bangladesh, which has thousands of garment and packaging factories that supply products to global clothing chains like America's Wal-Mart and Sweden's H&M.

Local TV stations said about 50 people were injured, indicating that the death toll could be higher.

Bangladesh factory fire
(A.M. Ahad/AP)

Rafiquzzman said the upper three floors of the five-storey factory were damaged because of the huge impact of the explosion and subsequent fire.

The incident took place as Bangladesh was preparing for a week-long holiday for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha that falls on Tuesday. Most of the factory workers, who are from rural Bangladesh, usually go on leave to celebrate the festival with families.