PHNOM PENH – Two garment factories in Cambodia, one of which supplies to US brand Gap, were destroyed by fire over the weekend. The fire began on Saturday evening at the 8 Star Sportswear Ltd – supplier to Gap – and Morica Industry Co factories. Nobody was injured in the incident, which firefighters brought under control by 11pm.
Employing just under 1,000 workers, 8 Star Sportswear is based in Phnom Penh and supplies sportswear apparel. The factory, which has Malaysian owners, achieved an excellent score in each of the last four assessments carried out by the Better Factories Cambodia Compliance programme. The programme is a collaboration between the United Nation’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Employing 1500 people, Morica Industry Ltd supplies pyjamas, jackets, T-shirts and underwear. In its one and only Better Factories Cambodia evaluation, carried out in 2017, it only passed 50 per cent of criteria, falling down in a number of areas, including not carrying out regular emergency evacuation drills (every 6 months).
In the aftermath of the fire, municipal fire department director Prom Yorn told local reporters: “The factories contained a lot of clothes and items vulnerable to fire, so the blaze and smoke were strong, especially the toxic fumes from the clothes and other objects, which gave our firefighters a headache. But the fire did not injure any garment worker or staff.”
Morica Industry administrative manager Tong Lib said he did not know what caused the fire because it happened after the workers left the factory.