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Fire Razes Tanzania Textile Factory, Infrastructure to Blame

A textile factory in Tanzania was felled Tuesday when a fire broke out in early morning hours.

The Morogoro located facility, 21st Century Creations, was engulfed in flames after a spinning machine exploded and attempts to put out the fire took six hours, leaving the buildings destroyed, All Africa reported. Damages have not yet been fully assessed.

According to fire brigade commander Ramadhani Pilipili, the fire took long to extinguish because the building’s infrastructure was not designed for fires.

“Legally, a textile is supposed to be fitted with water pipe taps atop the roof as in case of a fire outbreak the taps are opened so that water could flow down like rain. But here we failed because the fire started inside the factory,” Pilipili told All Africa.

Fire fighters had little other choice than to pull down the factory’s wall and roof in order to reach the source of the fire.

Workers at 21st Century Creations—which produces processed fabrics and has worked with exporters for Gap, H&M, Target and Macy’s—said, speaking on condition of anonymity, that the machine that started the fire had given off sparks and broken down multiple times.

On its website, the factory claims that it makes its goods “using the latest technology and strictly adhering to international standards in terms of quality.”

No injuries have been reported in the fire.

Several reports on Africa’s promise as an apparel manufacturing region or place to establish retail operations have called out Tanzania as a place of interest, but the nation’s supply chain remains under-developed. Apparel buyers have not generally made any major moves to source there despite its eligibility for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade benefits with the U.S. and similar duty breaks with the EU under its Everything But Arms (EBA) program.