'I survived only because I was able to free my hand’
Ariful Haque Sunny, an employee at a shop of the ill-fated building at Siddique Bazar in Gulistan, recounted the horrors of the day before as he lay on the floor of Ward 102 at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
He described how he was buried under a pile of debris on the ground floor of the seven-storey building as smoke and anguished screams surrounded him.
Sunny was saved because he was somehow able to free one of his arms and stick it above the debris. By that time, rescuers were at the ground floor looking for survivors.
Currently, 19 others who were injured in the blast are also undergoing treatment in different wards at DMCH.
"Around 4:30 or 4:45pm, the ceiling and the walls began to collapse following a big blast. I cannot remember much of what happened afterwards," Sunny said.
Another victim, Md Tuhin, who is receiving treatment in the same ward, worked in a shoe-making shop in a building next to the one where the explosion took place.
"I heard a loud bang and suddenly the room was plunged into darkness. Debris fell on my head, and I tried to make my way to the stairs. But I broke my leg as I stumbled and fell," he said.
Saiful Islam was working for Sundarban Courier Service's outlet situated in the building's basement when he heard a loud noise.
He initially feared that his computer had exploded.
Saiful recounted how he managed to climb over the wall and escape the building, only to see two dead bodies beside him when he fell to the floor.
Expressing gratitude for his survival, he felt as though he had been given a new lease on life.
Currently undergoing treatment in Ward 103, Saiful was taken to the hospital by his colleagues.
Jahangir Hossain said he along with his brother Khalilur Rahman yesterday visited a courier service located at the building in Gulistan.
They work for a seed production company and were booking a shipment at the courier. After depositing the goods, Khalil left the building but Jahangir was still inside when the explosion happened.
Jahangir is currently being treated at DMCH.
"After the blast, I was searching for my brother everywhere. Someone informed me that he had been taken to the hospital," he added.
Jahangir's body bears several injury marks and he is screaming in pain, Khalil said.
Brigadier General Nazmul Haque, DMCH director, said 20 patients injured in the blast were admitted in DMCH and its burn unit. The injuries include head wounds, burns and fractures.
"Thirteen bodies arrived dead at the hospital last night. Four died while undergoing treatment in the hospital," he said, adding that there are a total of 17 bodies.
One of the bodies was taken by relatives before processing and the remaining 16 bodies were handed over to family members.
Dhaka District's Additional Magistrate AKM Hedaitul Islam said, "A temporary booth has been set up by the district administration next to the emergency department at DMCH for the injured and victims to provide help and support."