MOROCCO - FIRE

Morocco factory owner charged after fire kills 55

2 min

The owner of a Casablanca mattress factory has been charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter after 55 of his workers were killed by fire in Morocco's worst industrial accident in years.

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Moroccan prosecutors charged the owner of a Casablanca mattress factory with criminal negligence and manslaughter on Tuesday after 55 of his workers were killed by fire in the country's worst industrial accident in years.

 

The blaze began with a discarded cigarette and quickly engulfed the four-storey building because it was storing highly flammable chemicals, according to officials.

 

Witnesses said many of the workers were burned to death or asphyxiated because the exits had been locked to deter theft.

 

"The company managers are charged for the absence of the necessary conditions and equipment for protecting the lives of employees, involuntary killing and injury and failure to assist people in danger," Casablanca appeal court said in a statement.

 

Local media named the owner and his son who managed the factory as Adil and Abdelali Moufareh.

 

A lack of available water meant it took hours for fire-fighters to control the blaze, bystanders said at the time.

 

Some of the 100 workers in the building -- most of whom were women and girls -- were rescued by local residents who smashed a wall and dragged them out as the fire raged on.

 

An inquiry was launched to determine the cause of the fire at the Rosamor Ameublements factory in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Morocco's largest city.
 

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