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Thousands evacuated after deadly Thailand factory explosion shakes airport and nearby homes

Written by on 05/07/2021

Thousands of people have been evacuated after an explosion near Thailand’s international airport left one dead and another 29 injured, officials said.

Firefighters battled flames that were still raging nine hours after the blast ripped through a plastics factory on the outskirts of Bangkok in the early hours of Monday.

Residents in Samut Prakan province who live within a five kilometre (3.1 mile) radius of the factory, owned by a Taiwanese company, were being moved away as a precaution, authorities said.

A rescue worker has died and 29 were injured due to the blast, officials confirmed. Pic AP
Image: A rescue worker has died and 29 were injured due to the blast, officials confirmed. Pic: AP

Local disaster authorities said 70 houses were damaged as a result of the explosion, which one resident said resembled an earthquake.

By mid-morning, the main blaze at the Ming Dih Chemical factory had been brought under control, but a large tank containing the chemical styrene monomer continued to burn.

Officials are also trying to move doctors and patients from its main hospital, over fears of fumes and the possibility of more explosions in the area.

The fire broke out at 3am, with windows in surrounding homes blowing out and debris raining down from the air, and smoke visible from downtown Bangkok.

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Firefighters used helicopters to dump water on hard-to-access areas in the large complex.

The body of the only fatality identified so far – a male volunteer rescue worker – was found among the wreckage.

Fire crews battled the blaze for nine hours before it settled down. Pic AP
Image: Fire crews battled the blaze for nine hours before it settled down. Pic: AP

Jaruwan Chamsopa, who lives about two miles from the factory, said the loud explosion in the middle of the night broke her home’s windows, damaged the roof, and caused parts of the ceiling to tumble down.

She said the windows of every house on her road were broken as well.

“I was shocked when the explosion took place,” she said. “I came out and saw a big fire in the sky.”

Giant plumes of smoke could be seen from downtown Bangkok after the explosion on Monday morning. Pic AP
Image: Giant plumes of smoke could be seen from downtown Bangkok after the explosion on Monday morning. Pic AP

Another resident, Baitong Nisarat, said: “At first it felt like lightning.

“After that, I heard something drop loudly, and for a while the house started shaking like there was an earthquake.”

The explosion set of alarms and shook the Suvarnabhumi Airport but officials said no flights have had to be cancelled. Pic AP
Image: The explosion set off alarms and shook Suvarnabhumi Airport, but officials said no flights have had to be cancelled. Pic: AP

The factory makes expandable polystyrene foam and is just under three miles from Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is Thailand’s main international airport.

Local media reported that the initial explosion shook the terminal building at Suvarnabhumi, setting off alarms.

Nerby homes and a temple felt the impact of the blast, with windows broken. Pic AP
Image: Nearby homes and a temple felt the impact of the blast. Pic: AP

Airport officials said no flights had been cancelled as yet.

The cause of the blast has yet to be determined.

 Sky News

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