The country has about 4,500 garment factories that make clothes for stores including Tesco, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Kohl's and Carrefour. The sector earned $19 billion this year as of June.
The state-run news agency, Sangbad Sangstha, recently reported that some 6,000 people die every year in fires in Bangladesh.
The accounts of survivors from the blaze on Saturday night underlined the panic and chaos at the scene.
"How the factory caught fire, I don't know. But when we heard 'fire,' we all rushed out and we were trying to get out of the factory," said Parul Begum, a survivor.
"One factory worker broke a window and one of the workers pulled me through. After the fire, we tried to run out the door, but it was locked. When the floor (became) dark with smoke, the boys came to rescue me," she said.