Thailand: Factory Explosion Fire at Chemical Factory Leaves One Dead, 29 Injured

Editor: Ahlam Rais

On July 5, a major fire broke at the Ming Dih Chemical factory which produces plastic foam and plastic pellets in Thailand. The fire has been extinguished however; the cause of the fire is still unknown.

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Thick black smoke billowed from the burning factory in Thailand after the fire was extinguished.
Thick black smoke billowed from the burning factory in Thailand after the fire was extinguished.
(Source: Lillian Suwanrumpha/ AFP)

Samut Prakan/Thailand – On Monday morning at around 3 A.M., an explosion occurred at the Ming Dih Chemical factory in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan, near Bangkok in Thailand. This was followed by a huge fire at the factory which produces plastic foam and plastic pellets. One person is reportedly dead, more than 60 people have been injured and more than 30 were hospitalized, according to news reports.

More than 30 fire engines and helicopters were rushed to the spot to control the fire. The Associated Press news agency mentioned that a local disaster prevention official Chailit Suwannakitpong claimed that a huge tank containing the hazardous styrene monomer chemical was on fire and efforts were ongoing to defuse it at that time. Although the fire was extinguished, the chemical at the factory burst back into flames on Tuesday, the next day and burned for about an hour. Firefighters managed to douse the fire.

The chemical is capable of producing poisonous fumes and can also emit the harmful styrene gas which on inhaling can be fatal.

Apart from this, the factory compound also included five or six warehouses where 50 tons of chemicals were stored, state news reports.

Post Tuesday’s incident, Attapol Charoenchansa, who heads the country’s pollution control department, said teams were testing the air quality and water in the area of the factory, and were considering narrowing the evacuation zone to allow some residents to return home, stated a news report by the Associated Press.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has also ordered authorities to gather as much information as possible on contamination of soil, ground water, the city’s drinking water and air so as to “mitigate the health impact in both the short and long term,” added the report.

The cause of the explosion is yet to be ascertained.

The Taiwanese-based Ming Dih Chemical Co. can produce up to 30,000 tons of plastic foam and pillets a year.

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