Four people in critical condition
Investigators have yet to make any breakthrough in identifying the cause behind the massive explosion that rocked Dhaka’s Moghbazar area, reportedly killing seven and injuring 50, with four being in critical condition.
At least four agencies have visited the scene along with the fire service. However, the cause of the explosion still remains a mystery.
After visiting the explosion site, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed initially suspected that the blast might have been caused by a gas leakage as he had smelled methane gas at the site.
He, however, preferred not to draw any conclusion as experts’ opinion in this regard was yet to be made.
“When gas cylinders are not properly maintained they can turn into explosives and strong waves could be created,” the IGP opined.
Top officials of the fire service also feel the same way. After visiting the place, Director (operation) of Fire Service and Civil Defence Lt Col Zillur Rahman hinted that it could be from a gas leakage, referring to the Narayanganj mosque blast that took place last year.
Abul Kalam Azad, chief explosive inspector of the explosives department, said there should be more than one catalyst that caused the heavy wave during the incident.
Abul Kalam Azad, said: “The presence of hydrocarbons was found on the ground floor of Shwarma House in the capital’s Moghbazar. Hydrocarbon is a component of natural gas. However, the occurrence of such a large explosion from gas alone is unusual.”
There could be a gas leakage but the explosion could not have started from this alone. The explosion might have occurred from a short circuit or something else.
There might have been many flammable products and the air-conditioner also could have exploded at the same time, he explained to Dhaka Tribune.
But both the police IGP and the explosive department head denied any chance of criminal activities behind the explosion, saying there was no reason yet for such speculations.
Meanwhile, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd Managing Director (MD) Ali Iqbal Md Nurullah claimed that the explosion was not a pipeline leak.
“The gas line of the building was very small, only 3-4 inches in diameter, with pressure of only 2 psi. It was not supposed to have too much gas,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
Quoting residents of the area, he said: “The ground floor cooking was conducted with two LPG cylinders. We are assuming that such an incident may occur as a result of a cylinder explosion. However, it is not entirely certain.”
A team from Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) said initially it did not find any problem with the wiring that could have initiated the explosion.
Five probe committees formed till now
Police have formed a seven-member committee to investigate the huge blast under Additional Commissioner of DMP’s CTTC unit Asaduzzman.
The Fire Service has formed a five-member probe committee under Director (operation) Lt Col Zillur Rahman while the Department Of Explosives formed a three-member investigation committee.
All the three committees have been asked to submit their reports within seven working days.
Meanwhile, Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd formed a three member committee while DPDC formed another committee. Both the committees have one working day to submit their reports.
Confusion over death tally, 4 in critical state
DMP Commissioner Shafiqul on Sunday night informed the media that seven persons had died in the incident while Fire Service Director General Brigadier General Sajjad Hossain said the service had been notified about the death of only three people.
However, Ramna police station Officer in-Charge (OC) Monirul Islam told Dhaka Tribune that the law enforcers mistakenly counted a dead body twice as it was sent to two different hospitals. Till the filing of the report around 8pm on Monday, he said the death toll was six and nine were admitted in hospital.
Deputy Commissioner (Ramna division) Sajjadur Rahman also confirmed the death of 6 and injuries of over 50.
Meanwhile, Md Nur Nabi, 30, Imran Hossain, 25, and Md Russell, 21, were admitted to Sheikh Hasina National Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute with 90% burn injuries, said Dr Samanta Lal Sen, coordinator of the institute.
SM Kamal Hossain, 62, has been admitted to the casualty unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital in critical condition, said a residential physician of the hospital.
Explosion left the building unusable
Investigators said that the building had become irreparably damaged and so the building should be rebuilt to be used again.
Chief Explosive Inspector Abul Kalam Azad told Dhaka Tribune that due to the explosion the building might not be used again and decisions had to be taken by the owner.
Lt Col Zillur Rahman, Director (operation) of Fire Service and Civil Defence agreed, saying the building had been irreparably damaged.
“It is not possible to use it. The owner of the building has to take a decision on whether he will have it demolished. None should enter the building for the sake of safety,” Zillur added.
Caretaker of Rakhi Neer goes missing
Harunur Rashid, caretaker of the building Rakhi Neer, where the explosion reportedly took place, went missing after ther incident.
His daughter, Hena Begum, said she could not find her father after searching for him in multiple hospitals.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid has been asked to address Parliament under Rule 300 regarding the Moghbazar explosion. Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu made the demand on a point of order in Parliament on Monday.
Meanwhile, a case will be filed with Ramna police station over the incident.