Dubai: An unexplained explosion rocked a laundry in a busy Bur Dubai market on Wednesday afternoon, reportedly leaving up to eight people injured.
Eyewitnesses said all victims were rushed to hospital after sustaining burns and injuries, mostly from flying glass.
One of the victims included a woman, police said, adding that an investigation is underway to find the cause of the explosion. “The forensic police will issue their report soon,” police said.
The blast damaged the Red Palace laundry on Street 41 in the bustling Meena Bazaar, a popular shopping destination in the old district of Dubai known for ethnic Indian and Pakistani fashions and jewellery.
According to eyewitnesses, the explosion took place around 12.30pm, just when most shops were preparing to down their shutters for the lunch break.
The owner of the laundry who was detained by police pending investigation says he is clueless about what happened.
“I was not at the shop when it happened. I had finished delivering clothes and was at a shop nearby when I heard an unusually loud noise. I knew it had come from my laundry but am still not sure what happened and how it happened,” Gokaran Kanojia, 45, from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, told XPRESS by phone.
He confirmed the shop’s entire staff who do ‘iron and wash’ jobs - Pradeep, Prem, Gajodhar and Raj Kumar - all from his state, are in hospital with serious injuries.
Several bystanders said a cylinder blast or the laundry’s high-steam press could be the reason for the powerful explosion.
Some people haven’t ruled out the involvement of banned firecrackers.
“With Diwali approaching, many shops in Bur Dubai illegally store firecrackers and sell them at a premium,” said an onlooker.
When XPRESS visited the spot, a team of policemen and forensic experts was still busy trying to ascertain the cause of the explosion.
The area was cordoned off as a team of cleaners waited to remove glass shards that were splattered over a radius of about 100 metres from the laundry, giving an idea of the explosion’s impact.
“I saw a man get hit in the back of his head by a shard that came out of nowhere. He fell to the ground and there was blood all over his face,” said a bystander.
“I saw a lady get badly injured while she was sitting in her car not far from the accident. I then saw her come out of the vehicle with her hands covering her forehead, all soaked in blood,” said a labourer working near the Al Fahidi souq a few metres away.
A senior police official said he believed it was a gas cylinder blast, but an official statement by Dubai Police confirming this wasn’t available at the time of going to press.
With inputs from Bassma Al Jandali, Community and Crime Correspondent of Gulf News