- The explosion occurred in a plastic factory near Bangkok International Airport.
- One firefighter was killed and 33 people were injured.
- More than 1,800 people were evacuated.
On Monday, an explosion near Bangkok International Airport caused a fire in a plastic factory, killing at least one firefighter and injuring 33 people. Rescuers worked to extinguish the fire a few hours later.
You can see thick black smoke rising from the center of the city 35 kilometers away. By evening, dark clouds have enveloped the Thai capital.
The explosion occurred at around 03:00, located in the suburbs of Bangkok, near the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan, Taiwan Mindi Chemical Co., Ltd.
The cause of the explosion is unclear.
According to officials, more than 1,800 people had been evacuated by the evening. In temporary shelters, including a nearby school about 9 kilometers away, elderly people in wheelchairs and families with masked babies wait to return home.
But at 20:00, more than 17 hours after the explosion, the fire was still burning, and the billowing fireball was extinguished by the continuous water cannons sprayed by the fire engine.
The helicopter also dumped fire extinguishing foam on the factory site, but to no avail.
“We are now able to limit the fire area,” said Kong Kasen, the governor of Samut Prakan Province in Wan Chai.
Although it is dark, we will continue to work hard because we want to complete it as soon as possible. We are confident that we can do it.
Rescuers drove emergency trucks near the surrounding communities and told people to leave for their safety through loudspeakers.
Some people are afraid of another explosion and have packed their things in backpacks, waiting outside for organized trucks to pick them up.
Lieutenant General Ampon Buarubporn stated that the public has been ordered to maintain a distance of at least 500 meters from the explosion site.
Although he added that “we don’t know if there is anything else that can explode.”
In a statement posted on his Facebook, Governor Prayut Chan-O-Cha praised rescuers, volunteers and officials for their hard work to put out the fire.
He said: “I would like to express my condolences to the family of the deceased and to pay tribute to the volunteers and officials who protected others from danger at all costs in this accident.”
– air quality –
According to officials, Ming Dih Chemical Co. produces expanded polystyrene-commonly known as styrofoam-and has been operating in the Bang Pli district since 1985.
In addition to being the location of Suvarnabhumi Airport, there are about 300 factories and residential areas within a 5 km radius around the factory, with a total of 240 communities.
Throughout the day, the direction of the wind kept changing, black smoke drifted over Bangkok, and black smoke hovered between the skyscrapers.
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Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit said: “We have sent air quality vehicles to check the air around the area and will cooperate with the pollution control department.”
Several fire trucks, sprinklers and two helicopters were deployed to extinguish the fire, which left debris and rough metal beams.
Niphon Boonyamanee, Deputy Minister of the Interior, said: “The two planes carried 6000 tons of fire fighting foam to extinguish the fire.”
“We are fully supporting this operation in order to control the situation as soon as possible.”
As the authorities closed a main road parallel to the airport, the traffic around the area fell into chaos, and strong plastic burning smoke filled the area.
Thitipong Choke-umnuay’s working place is about 10 kilometers away from the factory, and it was not affected. He said that his family living nearby were not so lucky.
After the impact of the explosion caused severe damage to her home, his aunt has been evacuated to his office.
“Today she will move to my home in Lat Phrao (City Center of Bangkok) because she cannot live in her house,” the customs clearance agent told AFP.
“This is a chemical explosion, so there is a strong smell.”