A fire Tuesday at a garment factory outside Bangladesh's capital has killed at least 10 people, an official said.

Fire official Zafar Ahmed said 10 bodies were found inside the four-storey building housing the Aswad garment factory in Gazipur outside Dhaka. He said several other people were injured while trying to escape from the building.

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Local journalist Iqbal Ahmed said from the scene that the fire occurred when the factory was closed for the day, but some employees were still inside working overtime.

Farhaduzzaman, another fire official, said the fire spread to two nearby buildings that also housed garment factories belonging to the Palmal Group of Industries. He said firefighters had doused the flames in two of the buildings and were seeking to bring the blaze under control in the third building. He could not immediately say whether any people were still trapped inside. Television footage showed the top three floors of the building on fire as dozens of firefighters battled the flames.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Harsh and often unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh's garment industry drew scrutiny from around the world after the collapse of an eight-storey building in April killed more than 1,100 people. The industry has experienced numerous fires, including one last November that killed 112 workers.

Bangladesh earns about $20 billion a year from garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe, with $1.1 billion of those clothing exports going to Canada. The sector employs about four million workers, mostly women.

Authorities in Bangladesh and global clothing companies have pledged to improve safety standards.