March 8, 2023
DHAKA – At least 17 people were killed and more than 100 injured in an explosion at a building in Dhaka’s Gulistan area this evening.
Fire officials said the explosion took place around 4:45pm near the BRTC bus counter. The fire service could not immediately provide the cause behind the huge explosion.
Eleven firefighting units are working at the scene to carry out a rescue operation, said Rashed Bin Khaled, duty officer of the fire service control room.
A five-storey building on the south side of the Gulistan BRTC counter, housing a sanitary shop on the ground floor and Brac Bank office on the remaining floors, and a seven-storey sanitary market building next to it, were affected by the blast. None of the buildings collapsed, he said.
Deputy Director of Fire Service Dinomoni Sharma told the media that the explosion took place in a building at 180/1 Holding, North South Road.
A bus parked on the opposite side of the building was also damaged due to the blast.
So far, 17 people have died and more than 140 injured have been brought to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, said Inspector Bachchu Mia, in-charge of DMCH police outpost.
Of the deceased, 15 were male and two female.
DMCH Director Brig Gen Nazmul Haque told reporters, “It’s a massive explosion. We are trying our best to help the injured and their relatives.”
Meanwhile, authorities have started to handover the bodies of the victims to their relatives.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Kazi Hafizul Amin told The Daily Star that they have begun the process at night in presence of police. They have set up a temporary booth to make the process smooth, he added.
So far, till 1:00am Wednesday, 11 bodies of victims have been handed over to their relatives, he said.
As per the directives of the prime minister, each family of the deceased has received Tk50,000 and each family of the wounded has received Tk 25,000, he said.
He said that numbers of doctors have been increased to 50 at the hospital’s emergency department.
The hospital authorities are now working to arrange blood. After two-three hours, it can be ascertained whether blood will be needed or not, he added.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Khandker Golam Faruq has said the incident of explosion in Gulistan area seems to be an accident and not an act of sabotage.
“Primarily we are suspecting that it is an accident. Different units are working to find out whether it was sabotage. So far, no evidence of sabotage was found at the spot till now. The law enforcement agencies are investigating it,” he said while talking to the reporters at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
The incident took place within days of a blast at an oxygen plant in Chattogram’s Sitakundu and a market in Dhaka’s science lab area.