09/07/2020, 15.01
BANGLADESH
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Gas leak kills 26 in a mosque

by Sumon Corraya

The incident occurred when worshippers were praying in a Narayanganj mosque, Fatullah. According to the Fire Service, gas from a leak in an underground pipeline accumulated in the mosque.

Narayanganj (AsiaNews) – A fire possibly caused by a gas leak killed 26 worshippers inside a mosque in Narayanganj, ​​Fatullah, during last Friday prayers. Most of the victims were poor.

The explosion injured the 45 people who praying inside the building. As of Sunday, 26 were dead and 11 hospitalised, six in intensive care.

According to the Fire Service, the blaze was probably caused by gas that accumulated inside the building from a leak in an underground pipeline.

The victims of were brought to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery, in Dhaka. Dr Samanta Lal Sen said none of the survivors are out of danger yet.

The Fire Service and Civil Defence launched a probe under the mosque floor to see if the pipeline running under the three-story structure leaks.

Meanwhile, the government has announced aid for the fire victims. The families of the dead will receive 20,000 BDT (about US$ 236) whilst the injured will get 10,000 BDT (about US$ 118).

Muslims often attend prayer with family members; in this incident, certain families suffered multiple fatalities.

Julhas Unndi, 30, and his only son Jubair, 7, were injured in the fire, but Julhas Unndi died later on the same day of the blast, whilst his son died two days later.

Rahima Begum, 25, a garment worker, also lost a son. “My son was watching cartoons on TV. I told him to go with his father to pray. Had I not sent him, he would still be alive,” she said, her eyes full of tears.

Abdullah Al Arefin, assistant director of Narayanganj Fire Service and Civil Defence, has already started to investigate the incident. "We are checking the mosque's electrical connections with the help of experts,” he said.

Yesterday Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also ordered an investigation into the deadly explosion. “I directed the cabinet secretary and other authorities concerned to find out the reason behind the blast in a mosque in Narayanganj,” she told Parliament (Jatiya Sangsad) during a discussion on an obituary motion.

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