Fire Kills More than 40 Employees at Fireworks Factory

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A fire has blazed through a fireworks factory in Tangerang, killing more than 40 of its employees who were trapped inside and tried to escape through the back door of the building.

“We found bodies burned down to skeletons, some charred, some partially charred,” Agus Margono, the head of operational control for Tangerang firefighters told Fairfax Media, as quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Tangerang Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has said that 47 bodies has been uncovered so far, but the death toll is likely to be even higher as search and rescue teams continue to look through the ash and rubble at the location of the incident.

The bodies, Agus said, were found banked against the back wall of the factory, suggesting that the victims had initially tried to escape through the back door.

“It seems fire was blocking the exit, so they tried to break down the back wall to escape. But it was a double wall and they couldn’t get out,” he said, adding that it was also likely that some people died from smoke inhalation.

It is believed that the fire started at about 9:00 am at a new fireworks factory in Tangerang. With the help of firefighters and nine fire trucks, the blaze was extinguished at about 1:00 pm. More than thirty people suffering 60 to 80 percent burns to their bodies were rushed to the RSIA BUN hospital nearby for immediate treatment.

While authorities suspect explosives in the factory started the fire, the exact cause of the blaze was still being investigated.

See: Don’t Burn Our Future!

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Ardi Wirdana is a Jakarta-based journalist covering a variety of topics including business, policy, and news in Indonesia.