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Chittagong gas explosion: Arpita was preparing for her annual exams

  • Published at 01:10 am November 19th, 2019
Arpita Rani Devi at Dhaka Medical College Hospital Dhaka Tribune

Although at first it seemed she was senseless, she informed that she wanted to lead a normal life, her eyes still blinking

Her hands were wrapped in white bandage. With 32% burn injury all over her body, her facial burn is most apparent, along with her vocal cords apparently damaged, according to the doctors.

Although at first it seemed she was senseless, she informed that she wanted to lead a normal life, her eyes still blinking. 

Her relatives were eagerly waiting by her bed at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s (DMCH) Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit for her recovery. 

This is the scene of Arpita Rani Devi, 16, hanging between life and death after being burnt by a gas-line explosion in Chittagong. 

Seven people were killed, and at least 15 others were injured, including Arpita, in Chittagong on Sunday, after a gas explosion on the ground floor of a five-story building that partially collapsed one of its walls on a busy road.

Dr Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, head of Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) burn unit, initially said on Sunday that Arpita, who is among the critically injured, sustained 30% burns. “Her respiratory organs have been badly damaged.”

She was shifted to DMCH later that night as her condition deteriorated. 

Arpita is a ninth-grader of Aparnacharan City Corporation Girls' High School in Chittagong. Her annual examination was set to begin from November 27 and she was preparing for her exams during the blast. 

Her only younger brother went outside to buy breakfast for Arpita and their aunt Sandhya, as her parents were in their village home and no one was there to cook at their home.

Sandhya, who was offering her morning prayers, was also injured.

Arnab Kumar Nath, a seventh-grader and Arpita's younger brother, said both of them were severely injured as a result of the blast.

The duty doctor at CMCH said: “Usually we treat the condition of a patient as alarming if there is more than 20% burns in one's body. Arpita had 32%.”

“The main concern is her throat, which has badly burned. It can turn for the worse anytime soon. Nothing further can be said unless a week passes,” she added. 

Kajal Kanti Nath, father of Arpita, said: “My daughter is a bright and meritorious student. She was studying for her exams when the explosion occurred."

“Everything has become disorganized due to the blast. I do not know whether I can save my child or not,” he added. 

Kajal furthered: “We are satisfied with the treatment provided in DMCH and there is nothing else left to do but remain patient.”

Arpita lived with her family members at the ground floor of building where explosion occurred, named Barua Bhaban on Brickfield Road in Patharghata area.

A case has been filed in connection with Kotwali police station yesterday. Shahina Akhter, wife of rickshaw puller Mahmudul Haque, a victim of the incident, lodged with case.

Confirming the matter to Dhaka Tribune, Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) Assistant Commissioner (Kotwali zone) Nobel Chakma, said: "A case has been filed regarding the incident.

According to Fire Service and Civil Defence, the blast was caused by gas, leaked either from the pipeline or the riser inside Barua Bhaban.