DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 9 (UPI) -- A clothing factory fire killed seven people in Bangladesh where rescuers are still counting the dead from the recent building collapse disaster, officials said.
Those killed in the fire Wednesday night at the sweater-making clothing factory on the ground floor of an 11-story building in the Mirpur area of the capital of Dhaka included the facility's owner and a senior police official, bdnews24.com reported.
The cause of the fire was not known immediately, but the report said flames quickly raged through the second floor. It took firefighters about 2 hours to bring it under control.
Details of the fire remained sketchy.
The bdnews24.com report quoted a factory official as saying the victims were holding a meeting when the fire broke out and the police official who died was a friend of the owner. The late-night fire broke out when the facility was closed.
Others killed in the fire included the owner's three friends, the report said.
The Bangladesh Daily Star quoted fire officials as saying the fire broke out just after 11 p.m. and the bodies of the dead were found on the building's staircase. It appeared all had died of smoke inhalation. The report said the victims were on the building's upper floor when the fire broke out.
Some reports said the fire started on the building's second floor.
The factory employed more than 200 people, the Star said.
Wednesday's fire incident came two weeks after an eight-story building housing similar clothing factories caved in, killing and trapping hundreds of people under the rubble. As the official death toll continues to mount, the latest numbers put it more than 800, making it the worst industrial accident in the country.
CNN, quoting the state news agency, said the death toll had risen to 823.
Garment exports are a main source of foreign exchange for Bangladesh and thousands of people, many of them women, are employed in garment factories that make branded items for several international buyers.
Since the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza building, the Bangladesh government has been making efforts to convince the buyers and rights groups about safety and labor standards in the country, the Star reported.
Authorities have since ordered the suspension of operations at 18 garment factories, the Star said.
"We will close down factories deemed to be dangerous," Textiles and Jute Minister Abdul Latif Siddique was quoted as telling reporters Wednesday.
The government action follows the visit of a team from the International Labor Organization, which has called on the government to take immediate steps to improve labor standards and working conditions in the garment factories, the report said.
CNN, quoting analysts, said much work remains to be done because the cozy relationship existing between factory operators and government officials makes strict implementation of safety standards difficult.