The death toll from an explosion of air conditioners in a mosque on the outskirts of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka rose to 24, with three more victims succumbing to their injuries on Sunday.
A gas leak in the underground pipeline caused six air conditioners to explode almost simultaneously during the Friday evening prayers at the Baitul Salat mosque in the central district of Narayanganj.
Twenty-one victims of the blasts died until 11 pm on Saturday. Three more victims died on Sunday during their treatment, the Daily Star reported, quoting doctors of the Dhaka-based Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery.
A seven-year-old boy was among the 24 dead.
Another 13 people are battling for their lives at the hospital.
Fire officials suspect that accumulated of gas from a leaking pipeline triggered the spark and all six air conditioners on the ground floor of the mosque have exploded.
“A gas pipeline passes beneath to the mosque. We are suspecting that the gas leaked from the pipeline and had accumulated inside as the windows were closed. The explosion was probably triggered due to the sparks when someone tried to switch on or off the ACs or fans in the mosque,” Narayanganj Fire Service’s Deputy Assistant Director Abdullah Al Arefin said on Saturday.
According to reports, the mosque committee had recently filed a complaint about leakage of the gas pipeline of the Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Limited.
The members of the committee said the Titas Gas authorities asked for a Tk50,000 bribe. As the bribe was not paid, the authorities neglected the matter which resulted in this catastrophe.
Four the separate of probe committees — by Narayanganj district administration, Fire Service, Titas Gas Transmission and the Distribution Company Ltd, and Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC) — have been formed to investigate the incident.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed the concern over the incident and issued the directions to ensure all the possible medical care for the victims.
Witnesses said they have seen found five to six people coming out of the mosque as soon as the blast occurred. Worshippers, most of them have severely burnt, were found lying on the floor.