Samut Prakan –
A young firefighter, 19, was killed and several people were injured during a massive explosion and subsequent fire at a large plastic beads factory in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan that started early this morning, July 5th.
The horrifying incident occurred at the Ming Dih Chemical polystyrene factory around 3:20 A.M., causing damage to at least 70 houses in surrounding communities and injuring more than 20 people. A loud explosion was heard in the neighborhood of the factory before the fire started to break out, according to local witnesses.
Fumes from the burned chemicals were reported in a large area while a long line of thick black smoke was clearly seen in the sky of Bangkok and kilometers away from the scene throughout the morning.
District chief officer Somsak Kaewsena had ordered the urgent evacuation of all people within a five-kilometer radius for public safety as the officials were concerned about more explosions as the core fire was not under control and tended to be moving towards another area where tonnes of chemicals were stored. People living around the site are highly advised to wear N95 face masks to protect themselves against fumes.
More than 30 fire engines and a team of local administrations, fight fighters, and volunteers were rushed to the scene. They spent all morning pouring water and chemical foam into the burning warehouse but could not control the fire.
As of 12:00 P.M., another explosion was reported after some amount of chemicals stored at the warehouses was leaked, killing a volunteer firefighter, who was later identified as Korasit Raopan, 19, and injuring four more people.
Two KA-32 Army Helicopters were deployed to continuously dump water and chemical foam on the fire for more than three hours. However, the fire has not yet been under control as of press time but was reportedly diminished in strength.
Meanwhile, the Maga Bangna Department Store, located about 5 kilometers away from the explosion, has announced its temporary closure from 4:00 PM. onwards today for the safety of the customers and employees.
The cause of the explosion was not known while the extinguishing operation is currently undergoing continuously for more than twelves hours. The Pattaya News/TPN Media will provide more information and update as soon as possible.
Although the smoke and flames are clearly visible from Suvarnabhumi Airport, about 10 kilometers away, at this time flights are not affected. However, as of 5:00 P.M., authorities were reportedly evacuating more people within 10 kilometers after winds had changed direction, blowing fumes further afield.
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