Within 18 hours of the massive explosion and fire that killed six people at an oxygen plant in Chattogram’s Sitakunda, a building in Dhaka’s Science Lab area partially collapsed and caught fire after an explosion on Sunday.
Three people were killed and around 30 people were injured in the incident that took place at around 10:50am in the three-storey building, adjacent to Priyangan Shopping Centre on Mirpur Road, according to hospital and police officials.
The deceased were identified as Sadikur Rahman Tushar, Shafikuzzaman and Abdul Mannan. All three worked at an office on the building’s second floor.
The building collapsed partially after the fire broke out following the explosion. Four firefighting units brought the flames under control at around 11:10am, Fire Service and Civil Defence media cell official Anwarul Islam.
While visiting the scene soon after, Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s (DMP) Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq told reporters that they think it was an accident. “Such explosions can occur due to various reasons.”
“We’ll form a committee to investigate and it will submit its findings after coordinating with Fire Service and experts,” he added.
Asked whether it was an act of sabotage, the DMP chief said they did not find any splinter or evidence that could indicate the presence of explosives.
Witnesses and police said broken glasses and furniture, bricks and air-conditioning units from the building’s collapsed portion had fallen on the road. Of the injured, 14 people were taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery (SHNIBPS) while the rest received treatment at nearby private hospitals and were released.
Four people were admitted to DMCH and two of them are in critical condition, said the hospital’s Emergency Department Resident Surgeon Dr Md Alauddin.
Five more people were admitted to SHNIBPS, said the institute’s Coordinator Dr Samanta Lal Sen. “Three of them are in critical condition. The other two are also not out of danger. We are doing everything we can to save them.”
CTTC Additional Deputy Commissioner Rahmat Ullah Chowdhury said they suspect the explosion might have occurred due to gas accumulated in the pipeline, like the Moghbazar explosion that killed seven people in June 2021.
DMP Additional Police Commissioner Mahid Uddin told reporters that they have talked to the Fire Service officials and the blast could have resulted from one of four reasons — electric short circuit, accumulated gas explosion, gas cylinder explosion or AC explosion. “The investigation will determine the exact reason.”