Mahbub said it was the lack of safety measures in the building that made the blaze so deadly. ‘‘Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower,’’ he said.
He said firefighters recovered at least 100 bodies from the factory and 12 more people died at hospitals after jumping from the building. Local media reported that about 100 injured people were being treated at hospitals.
The government was unable to identify many victims because they were burned beyond recognition; they were buried Monday in a grave outside Dhaka.
Mohammad Ripu said he tried to run out of the building when the fire alarm rang but was stopped.
‘‘Managers told us, ‘Nothing happened. The fire alarm had just gone out of order. Go back to work,'’’ Ripu said. ‘‘But we quickly understood that there was a fire. As we again ran for the exit point we found it locked from outside, and it was too late.’’
Ripu said he jumped from a second-floor window and suffered minor injuries.
Another worker, Yeamin, who uses only one name, said fire extinguishers in the factory didn’t work, and ‘‘were meant just to impress the buyers or authority.’’
Bangladesh has some 4,000 garment factories. The country earns about $20 billion a year from exports of garments, mainly to the U.S. and Europe.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said it would stand by the victims’ families and offered $1,250 to each of the families of the dead.
Associated Press writer Al Emrun Garjan contributed to this report.