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Gas pipeline blast kills 13 in Bangladesh mosque

Nisha Agarwal

A suspected gas pipeline blast near a mosque in Bangladesh killed at least 13 people and injured 30 others, officials said on Saturday.

The explosion occurred Friday night as worshippers were finishing their evening prayers at a mosque in Narayanganj district.

Dozens were rushed to a state-run specialized burn and plastic-surgery hospital in Dhaka. Most of them suffered from severe burns.

13 people, including a child, succumbed to burn injuries, said coordinator of the burn unit, Samanta Lal Sen. The 13 who died were among the 37 taken to the specialized burns hospital in critical conditions, he said. He added that all of them suffered up to 80 percent burns.

Fire service officials suspect the explosion was caused by leakage from the pipeline. They said gas, that accumulated in the mosque after the pipeline leaks, likely triggered the blast.

"We primarily suspect that gas leaked from the pipeline and accumulated inside the mosque since the windows were shut. When the air conditioners were turned on, due to sparks the gas could have exploded," said Abdullah Al Arefin, a senior fire service official.

At least six air conditioners in the mosque exploded in the incident, said the official.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

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