Saturday, July 24, 2021

in-focus

Chemical blaze put out but toxic residue lingers


The explosion and fire at a chemical factory in Samut Prakan caused one death, 40 injuries and damage to 100 houses nearby, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported on Tuesday.

Korasit Roaphan, a 19-year-old firefighting volunteer, was killed while helping to extinguish the fire in Bang Phli on Monday morning.

The blast occurred around 2.50am on Monday at the Ming Dih Chemical Co factory in Soi King Kaew 21, Rachathewa subdistrict. On Tuesday morning firefighters finally brought the blaze under control after more than 26 hours. According to the department, 751 firefighters and volunteers took part in the operation.

On Monday, 1,992 people residing near the blast radius were told to evacuate to nine evacuation centres set up by the department in Samut Prakan. A local source revealed some evacuees returned to their homes after the fire was put out, despite the department’s warning to stay put until the Pollution Control Department (PCD) had inspected and confirmed the area was safe.

“People are concerned that their homes might get robbed if they stay away for too long,” said the source.

PCD officials reportedly found potentially dangerous levels of toxic styrene, a precursor chemical, within a 1-kilometre radius of the factory and have ordered people to avoid the area. Styrene is a “known carcinogen” and also neurotoxic.

The disaster prevention department added that Their Majesties the King and Queen have donated 300 tents for the evacuation centres, 300 survival bags and a kitchen to provide meals for evacuees.

Published : July 06, 2021

By : THE NATION