Fire in a chemical plant in Thailand; health concerns remain Bangkok Facebook Little Indian Thailand
Firefighters finally put out a fire at a chemical plant outside the Thai capital early Tuesday, more than 24 hours after it started an explosion that damaged nearby homes and then released clouds of toxic smoke that sparked a widespread evacuation.
Little was left of the Ming Dih chemical plant other than the warped metal frames and charred remains of its warehouses, which were destroyed in the explosion and fire that broke out around 3 a.m. on Monday.
More than 60 people were injured in the disaster, including a dozen rescue workers, more than 30 of them were hospitalized. A man identified as an 18-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed in the fire.
Although the fire was completely extinguished at 3:40 a.m. on Tuesday, firefighters continued to pour water and foam over the grounds to prevent reignition of the highly flammable chemical styrene monomer. The cause of the disaster was still under investigation.
Authorities ordered that an area around the foam and plastic pellet manufacturing factory near Bangkok’s main airport be evacuated when the factory was on fire and long-term cancer.
On Tuesday, Attapol Charoenchansa, head of the country’s environmental protection department, said the teams are testing the air quality and water in the area of the factory and are considering narrowing the evacuation zone to allow some residents to return home.
However, he warned that the predicted rain could wash the chemicals into water sources, which would be difficult to control.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he had directed authorities to collect as much information as possible on the levels of contamination of the city’s soil, groundwater, drinking water and air in order to “mitigate the health effects in both the short and long term” . . “
“Although the fire is under control, our work is still ongoing,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook
In addition to the victims, officials said the shock waves from the first explosion also damaged around 100 homes and 15 cars.
Styrene monomer is used in the manufacture of disposable foam sheets, cups, and other products and can produce toxic fumes if ignited.
The chemical itself also emits styrene gas, a neurotoxin that can immobilize people within minutes of inhaling and, in high concentrations, can be fatal. Last year in the Indian city of Visakhapatnam 12 people died and more than 1,000 fell ill in a leak of styrene gas from a chemical plant.
The area around the plant is a mixture of older industrial complexes and newer housing developments that emerged after the airport opened in 2006.
Associate Press Secretary Chalida Ekvittayavechnukul contributed to this report.