by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka; –
Residents in Dhaka’s crowded Maghbazar Wireless area were panicked with the sudden jolt triggered by an explosion at a building that killed at least seven people and wounded dozens others on Sunday evening, according to police and firefighters.
The explosion at the four-storey Maghbazar Plaza by the side of the main road that connected Maghbazar crossing and Mouchak Market in the downtown also caused damage to at least seven more adjoining buildings, three city buses stuck in traffic congestion carrying passengers and numerous others small vehicles.
The main road and by-lanes were littered with smashed glasses and stones fell from the vehicles and towering buildings. Debris were scattered at the scene cordoned off by police.
Scores of people sustained injuries were rushed to two private-run hospitals near the accident site while many others were transported to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, the major public health facility in the capital, soon after the catastrophic accident occurred at about 7.30 pm.
Faysalur Rahman, a firefighter, said the explosion occurred at a four-storey building that housed many shops, restaurant, showrooms and private offices triggered a fire. Thirteen fire engine were deployed to douse the flame and conduct the rescue operation, he said.
Many bystanders and bus passengers sustained injuries as their windshields and glass doors were smashed, said Rahman said. But he could not ascertain immediately what actually caused the blast.
But Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam, who visited the site, told reporters in the night that accumulated cooking gas might have caused the accident that left at least seven persons killed.
He said did not find any evidence to support it was an act of sabotage.
Chief of Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence department Sazzad Hossain also suspected that the cooking gas might be the culprit. But he put the death toll to three until the late evening.
Twelve people who sustained burn injuries are said to be in critical condition, said Samanto Lal Sen, head of Sheikh Hasina Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit at DMCH.
The road adjacent to the building was closed to traffic since the accident. A four-member probe committee was formed to ascertain the damage and the reasons behind the mishap. The panel was asked to report back in a week.