A portion of a commercial building collapsed after a massive explosion in the capital’s Science Laboratory area on Sunday morning, claiming lives of at least three people and injuring over 50 others.
The incident took place at 34, Shirin Mansion on Mirpur Road, creating serious panic among the inhabitants and passers-by.
Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) and police primarily suspected accumulated gas behind the blast.
Such kind of incident also took place at Moghbazar in 2021, leaving at least 11 people dead and over 100 injured.
The injured were taken to nearby Popular Diagnostic Centre where the physicians declared three dead. The deaths and injury were caused by fire and debris, they said.
The FSCD, Bangladesh Army and Police Department conducted rescue operation.
However, the deceased, who were employees of the building and passers-by, in the incident were identified as Shafiquzzaman, 45, Abdul Mannan, 65, and Tushar, 35.
Of them, three succumbed to their injuries due to burn and hit of the bricks, he said, adding that most of the injured left the diagnostic centre after receiving primary treatment. Some seriously wounded persons were shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery for better treatment, he added. The media cell of FSCD said the explosion that caused fire occurred at 10:52am.
On information, four units of firefighters rushed to the spot and doused the flames at 11:13am.
Elderly Abdur Razzar, the owner of Mehedi Panjabi on the ground floor of Shirin Mansion, told the Daily Sun that after coming to his business entity, he was taking preparations to open the shop.
“Just then, I heard a loud sound of explosion and found the walls of the third floor got collapsed. A number of owners and employees of the building’s entities and passers-by fell to the ground,” he said.
Locals and firefighters rushed them to the nearby Popular Diagnostic Centre, he said.
The family members and relatives of the dead and injured persons flocked to the government and private hospitals after hearing the incident.
After the explosion, top officers of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) visited the spot. Observing the situation, DMP Commissioner Khandkar Golam Faruq told reporters that they found no evidence of explosive.
He termed the explosion ‘an accident’. “The reason behind it would become clear through investigation of police and other departments concerned,” he said.
But his deputy Rahmat Ullah Chowdhury, in-charge at Bomb Disposal Unit of CTTC under the DMP, suspected that the explosion on the second floor of the building happened due to the accumulated gas.
“We have, through our detector devices, found the presence of gas at the scene. The damage of such massive scale also suggests that the blast was caused by the accumulated gas,” he said.
On the accumulation of the gas, he suspected that it might have been amassed from any concealed gas pipeline or sewerage system.
He said an explosion might occur if there was the presence of 5-12 percent gas in the air of a confined space; there would be a blast if a flame or a spark caused the ignition.
Earlier, Brig Gen Md Main Uddin, director general (DG) of the FSCD, also said they were suspecting that the amassed gas might have behind the blast.
A Chemical Response Team of Bangladesh Army visited the spot. They did not find the presence of any explosive substance.