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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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To hell and back

Knowledge of past helped her save lives of 20

Ranjana Akter Sathi

Ranjana Akter Sathi knew there was a glass window which was not encased in an iron frame. It was near the sample room on the third floor of the burnt-out Tazreen Fashions Ltd.

“I knew about it as I am an old employee of Tazreen Fashions,” said Sathi, a 25-year-old sewing operator.

“Right when the fire broke, it occurred to me that I could rescue at least 100 workers through that window.”

Without waiting for instructions from the higher-ups, Sathi, who survived the deadly fire at garment factory Tazreen on November 24, immediately reached out for that secret window.

She broke the glass window and started letting out the panic-stricken workers through it.

“After letting out 20 workers through the window, I stood strong and rescued another 80. I shouted and they jumped through it.”

During the conversation with The Daily Star at her home in Ashulia, a severely injured Sathi recalled the frenetic efforts of the workers for their lives that fateful night.

Although some succeeded, many lost their lives.

“The heat of the fire drained me out after a point. I got out through the window then and took the support of a bamboo I found outside to get to the ground.”

Sathi passed out, her left thigh bleeding heavily, by the time she climbed down.

“Still, I can remember a few moments. Sirajul Bhai, who had joined a few months before and used to sit near me, tried his best to survive, but ultimately failed,” she said.

“I had a soft corner for Sirajul Bhai as he was a simple man and our bosses always rebuked him,” Sathi added.

When the fire started engulfing the third floor, a good number of male workers broke an exhaust fan to make an escape route.

Many escaped death through this way and many were burnt to ashes -- right before her eyes.

“Almost all the workers could have survived if the production manager Abdur Razzaque had told us to go out in the beginning of the fire,” she said.

The collapsible gate on the third floor was securely locked, Sathi said, adding she saw many attempts to get out through the ground floor while searching for an exit in the thick black smoke.

When it dawned on her that she might also not make it out of the building, she rang her elder sister to hear her two children speak -- for one last time.

“I have so many stories to share of the tragic night that a full day is not enough,” Sathi said, adding she is still in a state of shock.

During the incident a female worker jumped from the window only to impale herself on a standing rod on the ground. The rod pierced through her neck and she died instantly.

Sathi said it will be difficult for the surviving workers to rejoin the garment factory as memories of that night keep haunting their minds.

She will look for a job elsewhere since she has two children and a husband, a struggling van driver, to support.

“But life will not stop; it will go on,” said Sathi, who hails from Lohagara upazila of Narail district.

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Ranjana Akter Sathi's heroic contribution in saving scores of the lives from Ashulia blaze needs recognition from the highest authority. She fought out the blaze with a spirit recalling the Ekushay and the Independence War. I have no hesitation in recommending to the authority the conferment of Ekushay Padak to her for displaying valour, gallantry and intrepidity in the face of extreme danger.

: Dr. Iftikhar-ul-Awwal, DU

What a heroine. Her quick thinking and selfless act saved many people. She deserves an award from the government.

: M Hussain


  • Dev Saha
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 09:39 AM GMT+06:00 (166 weeks ago)

    The factory building was basically a prison. And, nobody cared how poor employees risked their lives everyday when they got into that building.

  • Abdur Rahman
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 06:13 PM GMT+06:00 (166 weeks ago)

    Ranjana Akter Sathi defies her own safety and lets at least 100 workers to get out . It is undoubtedly a heroic deed . I will request the benevolent rich people to come forward to help her in this critical time .





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