Dhaka, Sep 6 (efe-epa).- The death toll in the explosion caused by leaked gas from a pipeline in a Bangladesh mosque jumped to 23 on Sunday while the remaining 14 wounded were still critical, doctors said.
Police said the explosion occurred Friday evening when Muslim worshipers were offering prayers in Baitus Salat Jame Masjid in Fatulla town in Narayanganj district, some 25 km (15 miles) southwest of Dhaka.
Partha Shankar Paul, a surgeon of Dhaka Medical College Hospital burn unit, said with five overnight deaths, the toll in the incident jumped to 23.
“We are afraid the toll may rise as the condition of some of the injured persons is really bad,” Paul told EFE.
Police said some 40 to 45 people were inside the mosque at the time of the explosion and they had sent 37 injured to the hospital.
Quoting fire service officials, Aslam Hossain, officer-in-charge of Fatullah police station, said the incident might have happened due to the leakages in the gas pipeline underneath the mosque.
He ruled out any sabotage.
The impact of the explosion was so huge that six air-conditioners installed inside the mosque exploded simultaneously when people were busy offering prayers.
Mohammad Selim, who had three injured relatives admitted to the hospital, said they had no option left now but prayers.
“My cousin died around 10 pm last night. We are now praying for the recovery of the others,” said Selim.
Selim, who lives close to the mosque, said the explosion might have occurred from the spark of an exploded air-conditioner.
“When people were about to end their Isha nimaaz (the late evening Muslim prayers) one AC exploded and suddenly flames spread through the mosque and all were burned,” he said.
He added that injured people initially jumped to sewage water to douse the flame.
“I was at my house just one minute walk away from the mosque. We all rushed to the spot and called the ambulance,” he said.
Accidents from the leakages of poorly managed gas pipelines are common in Bangladesh but the death toll rarely reaches the double-digit mark.
At least seven people were killed and 10 injured in a gas line explosion near a port in southern Chittagong city of Bangladesh.
Fires and other dangerous industrial incidents are rather regular occurrences in Bangladesh, a country that has been under international scrutiny in recent years due to the precarious safety conditions in its factories.
But it appears that authorities have been unable to reduce those overall risks. EFE-EPA