Methane caused Moghbazar blast
The massive explosion that claimed 11 lives in the capital's Moghbazar late last month resulted from the accumulation of a huge amount of methane gas from a leaked gas pipeline and sewerage line inside the building, says a probe report of the fire service.
The accumulated gas came in contact with a spark either from an electric switch or an electric insect killer or a mobile phone, according to Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence (BFSCD).
The fire originated from a meat-processing chill room on the ground floor of the three-storey building, said the report submitted to the home ministry on July 13.
"When a huge amount of methane gas accumulates in a small room, a tiny spark, even an unnoticeable one, can cause such a blast," BFSCD Director (operations) Lt Col Zillur Rahman, the head of the probe committee, told The Daily Star.
At least 12 people were killed and 50 others injured in the explosion that rocked the Wireless Gate area in the city's Moghbazar around 7:30pm on June 27. The blast triggered partial collapse of the building and shattered the glass walls of dozens of nearby structures.
Zillur said that when the fire service team visited the spot on the day of the incident, it found gas pipelines in the building though Titas Gas denied giving any connections there.
Besides, the team found a sewage pit inside the building, he said.
Contacted, Ali Iqbal Md Nurullah, managing director of Titas Gas, declined to make any comment.
The probe body made a six-point recommendation to avert such incidents in the future.
Those include replacing old pipelines of Titas and changing the layout of underground pipelines.
Before constructing a building, it must be ensured that there is no underground pipeline at the construction site. When city corporations carry out work on the drainage system in any area, they should do it carefully so that no incident of pipe leakage takes place, the committee recommended.
The gas supply authorities should periodically inspect the pipelines and connecting lines to check whether there is any leakage. It also has to be ensured that gas does not leak from sewerage lines and every room of a building has sufficient ventilation.
Meanwhile, another probe committee, formed by Petrobangla, is yet to submit its report.
Seeking anonymity, a member of the five-member body said they primarily suspected that it was a gas explosion and there was leakage in gas pipelines.
"Such type of explosion is not caused by an air conditioner or LPG cylinder."