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23 Killed in Bangladesh Stampede

August 8, 2001

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ A false fire alarm caused a stampede in a seven-story factory building Wednesday, killing at least 23 textile workers and injuring 100 others.

The workers, mostly women, panicked and scrambled down the building’s cramped staircase after an electric short circuit set off a fire alarm. But there was no fire, according to firefighters at the scene in a suburb of the capital.

Most of the victims were either trampled to death or fell off the stairs in their hurry to get away, police said. Sixteen people were killed in the building and seven died later in a hospital, police said.

The building in the suburb of Mirpur houses three garment factories, employing more than 2,500 workers, police said. Readymade garments are Bangladesh’s major export.

The government has ordered an inquiry.

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