Bangladesh authorities have launched an investigation into a deadly explosion that killed at least seven people in Dhaka, officials said.
Sunday’s blast, believed to have been caused by accumulated cooking gas at a four-storey building that housed shops, showrooms and private offices in the Bangladeshi capital’s central Moghbazar district, left dozens of others wounded.
The blast also damaged at least three city buses carrying passengers stuck in traffic congestion in front of the building and other establishments around it.
Twelve people who sustained burn injuries are said to be in critical condition, said Samanto Lal Sen, head of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s burn and plastic surgery unit.
Debashish Bardhan, an official at Fire Service and Civil Defence Department, said members of a four-strong investigation panel collected evidence on Monday.
The panel will report back in seven days about what caused the blast, he said, adding that the investigators initially blamed accumulated cooking gas at a restaurant on the ground floor for the explosion.
Benazir Ahmed, chief of Bangladesh’s police force, said no evidence so far hinted at an act of sabotage. But he said explosives experts will launch an investigation.
“We will wait until the probe report comes to make a final comment,” he said.
Civil engineers from the Public Works Department also inspected the damaged building, constructed more than 60 years ago, to see whether it would be suitable for use.
Deaths from gas leak explosions due to poor maintenance and lax application of law are common in Bangladesh.
In September, at least 33 people were killed in such an explosion at a mosque in Narayanganj, which lies about 25km (15.5 miles) south of Dhaka.