At least 19 killed, dozens injured in explosion in Bangladesh capital

(CNN) An explosion ripped through a building in a crowded area of ​​Bangladesh’s capital on Tuesday, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 50, according to officials in the South Asian country.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Additional Commissioner Mahid Uddin Khondakar said the cause of the blast was unknown but it could be a gas explosion.

“We are not sure, but it seems accidental,” he said, adding that the number of casualties and the scale of the damage would become clear after firefighters and rescue workers complete their operations.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police said there were not many people inside the building at the time of the explosion, but its location on a busy road near a market meant pedestrians were affected.

Firefighters and rescue workers at a blast site in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 7.

Photos show firefighters and emergency responders conducting a search and rescue operation after dark. Damaged building walls are crumbling and missing; Some units appear to have completely collapsed and debris covers the ground outside. The relatives of the victims were seen mourning outside.

According to fire officer Dinomony Sharma, 22 people are in the hospital as of Wednesday morning.

Sharma said the Bangladeshi army would work to secure the remains of the building on Wednesday and the cause of the explosion would be investigated.

Firefighters work at the scene in Dhaka on March 7, 2023.

The explosion followed two other deadly explosions in the country over the past weekend; On Sunday, three people were killed in a suspected gas explosion in Dhaka, the densely populated megacity that is home to more than 23 million people.

Seven people were killed and several others injured in a fire following an explosion at an oxygen plant in southeastern Bangladesh on Saturday.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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