Seven of a family burnt in explosion
Seven members of a family were burnt after an explosion in their household gas pipeline at the capital's Kalabagan yesterday.
While the victims, six of them in a critical state, writhe in pain at hospital, utility service providers trade blame for the explosion that blew away a tin-shed house and partially damaged at least five adjacent buildings.
The injured are -- Mamataj Begum, 65; her son Sumon, 30, his wife Reshma Begum, 26, and their son Rabbi, 10; Mamtaj's daughter Rosy Begum, 34, and Rosy's children Yousuf Ayon, 17, and Farhana Akter Bithi, 12.
All but Rabbi are fighting for their lives at the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital with 30 to 54 percent burns including in their respiratory tracts. Rabbi is being treated with eight percent burns, doctors said.
Injured Sumon said Rosy, a garment worker, went to the kitchen of the two-bedroom house for making breakfast around 5:15am. Just as she lighted a matchstick to fire up the gas stove, the room exploded with a loud bang and a huge fireball engulfed the house instantly.
"I woke up from sleep having felt extreme heat. The fire engulfed the entire house before I managed to come out," Sumon's nephew Ayon told The Daily Star.
It took around an hour for four firefighting units to douse the flame, said Inspector Syed Monirul Islam of Fire Service and Civil Defence.
Gas leaked from a faulty pipeline accumulated inside the house and exploded the moment it came in contact with the matchstick flame, he said.
While all fingers point to Titas Gas, the utility service provider, the company officials accuse Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) for damaging the pipeline.
"We've found three of the five nearby service lines disconnected where the WASA is working," Patrolman SM Saiful Islam of Titas Gas said.
"Through the leakage, gas seeped into the house through the sewage lines," he claimed.
"The accident took place as the Wasa damaged the gas pipe here during their work. We are trying to repair it," HM Ali Ashraf, director (operations) Titas Gas told reporters while visiting the spot.
Contacted, Deputy Managing Director Quamrul Alam Chowdhury of Wasa told The Daily Star that he was not aware of any such work as claimed by the Titas officials in that area.