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

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

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.