A sudden explosion in the bus caused the fire, say witnesses
At least two passengers have been killed in a bus after it caught fire, while moving, in Comilla.
The deceased were identified as Rafiqul Islam, 75, and Shafin, 3.
The three-year-old, who lived in Daudkandi, was going to Matlab in Chandpur with his grandmother to attend a family event, his family sources said.
At least 21 other passengers were injured in the incident, nine of whom got burn injuries, which took place at around 6pm on Thursday, on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in Gouripur area of the district’s Daudkandi upazila.
Daudkandi highway police station OC Zahirul Haque has confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune.
Seventeen of the injured passengers were sent to the burn unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for better treatment.
The four others were sent to Daudkandi upazila health complex.
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Daudkandi police station OC Md Nazrul Islam said they had recovered the dead bodies.
Some of the injured people who were sent to DMCH are in critical condition, he further added.
Witnesses said the Chandpur-bound bus, which was coming from Dhaka, stopped for refuelling at a CNG refuelling station beside the highway in Gouripur. After refilling the gas cylinder, the bus was making a U-turn on the highway in Gouripur when there was a sudden explosion, and the bus instantly caught fire.
Panicked by the explosion and fire, the bus driver and helper got off the vehicle.
The fire killed two of the bus passengers on the spot. Locals rescued the survivors, including the injured, and fire fighters from the local Fire Service office rushed to the spot and doused the fire.
There were 25-30 passengers on the bus, according to locals.
When contacted, acting superintendent of police in Comilla region of Highway police, Mollah Mohammad Shahin, said they suspected the fire was caused by the explosion in gas cylinder of the bus.
Daudkandi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Kamrul Islam said the families of the two victims had each received Tk20,000 from the district administration to cover funeral costs.
The district administration will also bear the cost of the treatment of those in hospitals, he added.
Among the injured who are being treated at the DMCH, Golam Hossain, 75, has suffered 31% burn injuries, our DMCH correspondent reported.
Golam Hossain’s daughter Shahinur, 32, who was travelling with her father on the same bus, said she survived by getting out of the bus through a window.
She blamed the driver for the incident, saying he had taken more passengers than the bus had the capacity to carry.
Seven family members of Rafiqul, one of the victims, are admitted in the DMCH as well.
Our DMCH correspondent Aminul islam Babu contributed to this report