At least 24 dead in fire at Indonesia matchstick factory

JAKARTA (Reuters) – At least 24 people died on Friday in a fire at a small factory producing matchsticks in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, authorities said.

The blaze broke out at midday in the makeshift facility located in a residential area, killing 21 adults and three children, said Riadil Akhir Lubis, head of the provincial disaster mitigation agency.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

“(The children) were probably not workers. Their parents, who lived nearby, brought them to work,” said Irwan Syahri, head of the local disaster agency, told Metro TV.

Indonesia has a patchy industrial safety record. In 2017, a series of explosions and a fire killed 47 workers and injured dozens at a fireworks factory on the outskirts of Jakarta.

Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Fransiska Nangoy; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Kim Coghill and Darren Schuettler

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