Fire guts S. Korean-owned garment factory in Thingangyun

A fire at the Yangon Pan-Pacific International Company factory in Thingangyun Township on December 12, 2017. Photo: Fire Services Department
A fire at the Yangon Pan-Pacific International Company factory in Thingangyun Township on December 12, 2017. Photo: Fire Services Department

A fire broke out at a garment factory in Thingangyun Township on Tuesday morning, causing K720 million (US$527,000) in damages.

The factory is operated by the Seoul-based Yangon Pan-Pacific International Company, which produces clothing for brands such as Old Navy, Gap, and O’Neill.

The fire broke out at around 4:45am on Tuesday. A worker who was there at the time told the Myanmar Times that it started near the factory’s electric switchboard.

Staff members tried to extinguish the fire using three small fire extinguishers and called police, who informed the Fire Services Department.

By the time firefighters arrived, the fire had grown. It took 47 fire engines and 19 support vehicles to put down the blaze. One person assisting with the firefighting effort suffered burns to his hand.

“Firefighters tried to extinguish the flames for a long time because it was very huge fire,” one firefighter told Eleven. “They had to destroy the doors by using cutters and axes to put out the flames inside.”

The fire destroyed garments, fabric, sewing machines, other machinery, and parts of the factory.

Yangon Pan-Pacific International Company employs 1,900 people, most of whom are factory workers. The factory operates from 7am to 6pm every day and employs five security guards during closing hours.

One of the guards said the factory’s main electric switches are shut down during closing hours.

Charges have been filed against the factory’s general manager, Min Han, at the Thuwunna police station under Section 285 of the Penal Code for negligence in the event of a fire. He will face up to three years in prison if convicted.

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