As many as 38 victims have been transferred to Dhaka in critical condition
At least 50 people have sustained burn injuries in an air conditioner explosion during prayers at a mosque in Narayanganj.
The blast took place around 9pm on Friday at a mosque in the Sadar upazila’s Fatullah neighbourhood, Station Officer Morshed Alam of the local Haziganj Fire Service told Dhaka Tribune.
Several victims have been brought to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka.
The institute’s coordinator, Dr Samanta Lal Sen told Dhaka Tribune that 38 victims have been admitted. “All of them have been brought in with critical burn injuries,” he said.
The mosque’s Imam Abdul Malek and Muezzin Delwar Hossain were among the victims brought to Dhaka with severe burn injuries.
According to the local police, the blast occurred when the Isha prayers were about to end.
“Most of the victims have burns covering 60 to 70% of their bodies,” Fatullah police station OC Aslam Hossain told the media.
Witnesses said they found five to six people coming out of the mosque as soon as the blast occurred. Worshipers, most of them severely burnt, were found lying on the floor, according to them.
Locals rushed most of the victims to the Victoria Hospital in Narayanganj and to the burns institute in Dhaka.
Several firefighting units rushed to the spot soon after the blast and took eight to nine people to the hospital, Narayanganj Fire Service’s Deputy Assistant Director Abdullah Al Arefin said.
“Most of the victims were taken to the hospital by the locals. All of them have suffered critical burn injuries,” he told the media.
He said it seems all six air conditioners on the ground floor of the mosque exploded.
"A pipeline of Titas Gas passes beneath the mosque. We are suspecting that gas had leaked from the pipeline and accumulated inside as the windows were closed. The explosion was probably triggered due to sparks when someone tried to switch on or off the ACs or fans," said Arefin.
Abu Talha, who lives in the same neighbourhood, told Dhaka Tribune that the mosque committee had recently filed a complaint over leakage of the gas pipeline.
Meanwhile, the fire service has opened an inquiry into the incident.
“Initial investigations suggest all of the air conditioners exploded at a time,” Fire Service Director General Brig Gen Sazzad Hossain told Bangla Tribune.
A committee led by Director (Ops) Lt Col Zillur Rahman has been formed to look into it, he said.
Narayanganj’s Deputy Commissioner Jasim Uddin told the media at the scene that most of the victims have been transferred to Dhaka.
“I am in touch with the secretaries to the Cabinet Division and Health Ministry. They have assured of all cooperation for the victims,” he said.
Narayanganj Superintendent of Police Md Zayedul Alam said that 38 victims are being treated at the burns institute in Dhaka.
“Of them, three to four are in critical condition. We suspect that a gas line leakage may have caused the blast,” he said before adding they have formed a five-strong panel to probe the matter.
Outside the Sheikh Hasina Burn National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka, hundreds of people were waiting for updates on the conditions of injured relatives, according to media reports.