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Death of Four Workers, 21 Feb 07, Pacific Bhaban
Investigation main page

Deaths of Lal Miah, Idrish Ali, Mostafa and Monshul Ali on 21 Feruary 2007 after a gas explosion in  a water tank at a Dhaka building

On 22nd February 2007, Prothom Alo reported that that there had been a fire in an underground water tank in Pacific Bhaban at East West University in Mohakali in Dhaka and one cleaner had been burnt to death, and ten injured. Investigation showed that three further workers had died from their injuries at Dhaka Medical Hospital

There were two main people who provided information in the investigation: a security guard at East West University and a caretaker at Pacific Bhaban. Pacific Bhaban itself is not part of East West University – and is owned by Mostafa Ahmed.

The security guard told them that on the 21st of February, he was on security duty at the at the University building adjacent to Pacific Bhavan. The building was not controlled by East West University. On hearing a loud explosion, he went to the Pacific Bhaban and saw that the reserve water tank which was located on the ground floor of that building had caught fire. It appears that one worker was inside the tank at the time and the other workers were on top of the tank.

He informed the investigators that the water tank was completely filled with gas because the gas pipe positioned beside the tank had a leak. He further added that the ignition of the gas and the subsequent explosion was probably caused by a spark from an electric bulb. Instantly the fire spread everywhere causing the immediate death of the worker positioned inside the tank. Some of the workers standing on the top of the tank were also injured.

He reported that the workers who were on the top of the tank, walked out with their bodies ablaze and they were later taken to Dhaka Medical Hospital. The body of the worker who had died on the spot, Lal Miah (aged 35), was rescued from inside the tank. The medical expenses were borne by Mr Mostafa, the owner of Pacific Bhaban.

He did not know the addresses of the injured and dead workers but he informed that some of them lived in Middle Badda. He told them that the workers were employed by a contractor, called Milon.

Pacific Bhaban’s caretaker informed the investigators that at 11 am the 21st the workers started to clean the water tank. One of the workers had carried an electric bulb into the tank. At that point, the gas trapped in the tank exploded and the tank caught fire.

He said that these employees were hired by contractor Milon but he did not know Milon’s address. He also mentioned that the families of the killed workers were paid Tk.25,000/- per head as compensation by the University Authority.
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Page last updated on February 4, 2008