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Three killed, 12 hurt in Science Lab blast

Explosives not used in explosion : Army team

Published : 05 Mar 2023 10:28 PM | Updated : 06 Mar 2023 06:35 PM

Three people were killed and 12 others injured when a three-storey building partially collapsed following an explosion and subsequent fire at around 10:52 am on Sunday morning at Science Lab area on Mirpur Road in the capital.  

Four units of fire service rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control at around 11:13 a.m. 

A team of the army's specialists found no use of explosive substances in the explosion that took place on the 2nd floor of the building named Shireen Mansion. 

The team comprising members of the bomb disposal unit and chemical disaster response team (CDRT) of Bangladesh Army inspected the explosion site in the afternoon and carried out tests. 

 Replying to a question from reporters after completing their inspection, Bangladesh Army's 57 Engineer Company Commander Major Md. Kaiser Bari said that they initially experimented with explosive detection equipment at the scene. After initial observation, they understood that the explosion was not caused by explosives. If any explosives had been used in the blast, they would have known through the test results, Maj Kaiser Bari said. 

He said that after further investigation, it will be known later why the explosion actually took place. 

Replying to another question, Maj Kaiser said, "It could be any kind of explosion. But we need to investigate further to know the actual reason. As we detect explosives with our equipment, so initially we can say that there is no evidence of explosives here. Even no evidence of gunpowder or IED use was found here. The exact cause of the explosion will be known later after further investigation." 

Our Special Correspondent adds: Immediately after visiting the spot, an official of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) said that there was no militancy link behind this incident.

Additional deputy police commissioner of the bomb disposal unit, Rahmat Ullah said that the explosion occurred due to the gas accumulated in the sewerage line. 

However, the fire service assumed that the fire started from an explosion of an air-conditioner in the building.  

According to Mohid Uddin, an additional deputy commissioner of Ramna Division Police, electric-short circuit, accumulated gas, cylinder or AC explosion -- any of them could be possible causes. He further said, "We are investigating the matter." Fire official will investigate the cause of the fire too, he added.

The deceased were identified as Shafiquzzaman, Abdul Mannan and Tusher. They all succumbed to their injuries at Popular Diagnostic Centre.

Thirty people who were injured, some of them are pedestrians and some are shopkeepers. They are receiving treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery Hospital.

The injured are Nur Nabi, 23, Akbor Ali, 52, Ashfaruzzaman, 36, Asha, 26, Habibur Rahman, 32, Juhur Ali, 52, Jakir Hossain Jewel, 35, Mehedi Hasan, 25, Tajuddin, 30, Kabir Hossain 30, Rabeya Khatun, 25, Kamal Hasan, 40. The other injured persons could not be identified yet.

Some left hospitals after taking first aid treatment. Of the injured, the condition of three is critical, said Dr SM Ayub Hossain, resident doctor of Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.

According to Dr Samanta Lal Sen, coordinator of Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery Hospital, six people were being treated at the emergency department.

Earlier, the explosion took place at 10:52 am on the third floor of a three-storey building in Science Laboratory area. Later, a portion of the floor partially collapsed. After the explosion, black smoke engulfed the building. Fire men managed to douse the blaze at 11:15am.

Some clothing shops are housed on the second and third floors of the building. Exact  reason behind the explosion is yet to be ascertained.

The partial collapse of the building following an explosion in Science Lab area is not an act of sabotage but an accident, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq.

Faruq told reporters after visiting the spot, “No evidence of sabotage was found on the spot and the explosion might have occurred for different reasons. The law enforcement agencies are investigating it,”

“We'll form a committee to probe the explosion and the probe body will take opinions from fire service officials and experts and submit a report,” he added.

Replying to a question about whether the law enforcers found any sign of splinter or destructive elements, the DMP chief said, "They have not found any mark of splinter or destructive elements yet."

Police are not allowing anyone to enter the building in Science Lab area that partially collapsed due to an explosion Sunday morning.

The two walls on the second floor collapsed due to the explosion. The building still seems risky, Mohid Uddin, an additional deputy commissioner of Ramna Division Police, told reporters after visiting the spot. 

"There were some offices on the second floor which sustained extensive damages. I think no one should enter the building right now," he said.

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