Mysterious blast damages port city flat

3 critically burnt
A flat at a building in Chittagong's Dewan Bazar is in ruins following an explosion on January 27, 2017. Star file photo

It was around 5:15am yesterday. Most of the people in Bakalia Dewan Bazar area, including the residents of a six-storey building in Nirapod Housing Society of Chittagong city, were asleep. A huge bang, apparently from an explosion, woke them up.

The explosion happened at a flat on the second floor of the building. Four people, including three of a family, were burnt in the explosion. A portion of a wall on the floor and most of the doors and windows of the building, where 36 families reside, were damaged.

Some flats in two building in Chittagong's Dewan Bazar area in ruins following an explosion on January 27, 2017. Photo: Star

Residents in the area said it could not be a mere gas explosion because of large-scale damage and noise created by the explosion. Police said explosive experts were working to find out the reason. 

Mostaim Hossain, deputy commissioner (south zone) of Chittagong Metropolitan Police, said they primarily suspected that knob of gas burner in the kitchen inside the flat was somehow left open at night and gas accumulated throughout the night. The explosion might have happened in the morning when somebody tried to ignite the burner.

Abdul Motaleb, an expatriate in Oman, had rented the flat around 10 years ago. He along with his family used to live there. Motaleb and his wife were not in the house yesterday as they were in their village home at Amirabad of Chittagong's Lohagara.

His mother Samuda Khatun, 70, elder son Ariful Islam, 27, and younger daughter Tanima Afrin Chowdhury Ifti, an SSC examinee, were critically injured in the explosion. They were undergoing treatment at Chittagong Medical College Hospital's burn and plastic surgery unit.

Of them, Ifti and Samuda sustained 100 percent burn injuries, said Fakhrunnesa, on-duty doctor of the unit.

An injured admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

Arif suffered 25 percent burns and later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital's burn unit. Syed Mahmudul Haque, a resident on the third floor, who sustained seven percent burns, took primary treatment.

Arif told The Daily Star that he heard a big bang and when he opened his eyes he saw fire in their flat.

“I rushed to our dining room and found my grandmother in the middle of fire,” he said, adding, “I screamed and people came to rescue us.”


A wall clock in Motaleb's next-door neighbour Rakhal Chandra Dhar's drawing room stopped when the explosion happened. Many furniture inside his flat was also damaged.

"I thought it was an earthquake when I was woken up by the loud bang,” said Rakhal, adding, “The whole building was shaking.”

“My wife and I rushed outside as doors and windows of my house were already damaged,” he said, adding, “I saw the fire inside Motaleb's house and could not think of anything … I do not recall what I did at the time … minutes later, I discovered myself on the road.”


The six-storey building was built around 12 years ago in Nirapod Housing Society by Madrasa Arabia Khairia and Orphanage in Raipur village of Chittagong's Anwara. 

Maulana Muhammad Sohail Saleh, principal of the madrasa, said their family funded and ran the madrasa and the orphanage. The income from the building was spent to run the orphanage.

“I don't understand why the explosion happened … the law enforcement agencies should find out the reason,” he said.

Contacted, Saleh Mohammad Tanvir, additional commissioner (crime and operation) of the CMP, said bomb disposal unit of the CMP was working on the spot. “It's too early to make any comment about the reason of the explosion."


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