By The Nation
After the leak was reported at 10am, police sealed off an area in a 500-metre radius of the factory in Bang Dong Udom’s Tambon Nong Bua.
The injured were Ngao Mungkorklang, 74, Rak Mungkorklang, 55, Weerasak Rermkhonthod, Satawat Khoyaiklang, Worawuth (last name unknown), Surin (last name unknown), and an unnamed Samaritan who rushed to aid the factory workers.
Factory owner Thonglor Mungkorklang, 48, said his family had operated the ice-making plant for 20 years, and many of his relatives worked there.
Thonglor told police that when the ice-making machine was turned on in the morning, workers smelt a strong scent of ammonia. His elder brother Rak went to turn off the ammonia pipe valve.
While Rak was turning the valve, a large amount of ammonia escaped and exploded, burning his face and torso. Ngao and others who rushed to help inhaled a large amount of the foul gas and fell sick.
Muang Udon Thani district chief Watcharin Sutalawadee said that the factory had a proper licence to operate the ice-making facility.
He said the accident was believed to have stemmed from a malfunction in the ammonia compressor, resulting in the valve lid explosion and gas leak.
The factory has been asked to halt the operations to allow for an official investigation and to find a remedy to any problem.