The fatal explosion that claimed 7 lives in Chattogram's Patharghata was triggered by a leakage in the gas line, said a probe report.
This finding contradicts the report submitted earlier by a Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company investigation panel, which claimed the accident was not caused by a gas leak.
According to the probe findings, the faulty gas riser was in a closed area. The service pipe next to the riser leaked and the gas entered the second room of the ground-floor apartment. At one stage, the room turned into a gas chamber. As soon as a match stick was lighted in the morning for starting a puja, the explosion occurred.
The seven-member probe committee, formed by the district administration, to investigate the explosion at Barua Bhaban submitted its report on Sunday.
The head of the probe committee, Additional District Magistrate AZM Sharif Hossain briefed the media after submitting the report.
He said there were two rooms on the ground-floor apartment. Besides, there was an open space where the riser was placed. But, the owner of the house erected a boundary wall and the place where the riser became a closed one. If it was in the open space, there was no possibility of the explosion.
AZM Sharif Hossain said during investigation it was found that adequate light and air could not enter the place where the riser was. The riser was wrapped with an old tape.
The service pipe connecting the riser with the house part was found broken. Leakage was also found on the service pipe in the house. A part on the upper portion of the 2nd room was open. Mainly gas entered through this space.
Sandhya Rani Debi, a victim of the incident, told the probe committee, "The explosion occurred as soon as a match stick was lighted to a candle to be used for the puja. Two walls – one inside the house and another outside – collapsed."
After the incident, the Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd authorities formed a probe committee. The committee submitted its full report on the night of the same day. The report claimed that there was no leakage on the gas line in Barua Bhaban.
The explosion might have originated from the septic tank, they said.
Asked about the Karnaphuli Gas probe report, AZM Sharif Hossain said, "I don't want to comment on the report submitted by that probe committee. That must have been given on the basis of some logic."
Asked about whether the explosion originated from the septic tank, the district administration probe committee head said no evidence of explosion from the septic tank was found in the investigation.
"The representative of the Explosives Directorate said the type of gas that deposits in the septic tank will not cause any such explosion. Besides, if the explosion was in the septic tank the sewerage from inside it would come out. But no such evidence was found in the place of the occurrence," he said.
The probe report held the owner of the house responsible for the accident. A case has already been filed with Kotwali police station against the owner of the house.
Asked why Karnaphuli Gas Company was not accused in the case, Sharif Hossain said, "The owner of the house was in charge of maintaining the portion of the service pipe after the riser. As the explosion took place due to a leak in that portion, we have found no fault with the Karnaphuli gas company."
The probe report has also put forward several recommendations.
Those are: Obeying the building code and laws of the local authorities in constructing a building, distribution of leaflets by the authorities concerned to make the people aware about the law, immediate identification of the buildings which were built violating the approved designs, examining all the lines and risers of Karnaphuli Gas and giving certificate to the effect that "the building has been examined".
It also recommended distributing banners and leaflets to raise awareness about gas line leakage and introducing a hotline for providing solutions for the gas line problems.
In the explosion at Barua Bhaban on Patharghata Brick Field Road in Chattogram city on November 17, seven persons were killed and 12 others injured.
The district administration formed its seven-member committee with one representative from each of Chattogram Metropolitan Police, Fire Service, City Corporation, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Co Ltd, and Chittagong Development Authority.
Besides, Chattogram Metropolitan Police, Chittagong Development Authority and Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company formed separate committees to investigate the incident.