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Trang villages declared disaster zones due to smoke from rubber-plant blaze

Feb 05. 2018
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By Khanitta Sitong
The Nation

Forty-one villages in seven tambons in Trang’s Kantang district have been declared disaster zones as smoke continued to billow from Sunday’s smouldering fire at the country’s largest rubber-glove-manufacturing factory.

Trang Governor Siripat Patkul on Monday declared six villages in Kuan Thani, six in Bang Mark, seven in Bang Pao, eight in Khok Yang, five in Khlong Chee Lom, five in Wang Won and four in Yan Sue disaster zones.

The designation makes them eligible for state aid under the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act 2007.

Many residents of Bang Mark and Kuan Thani were seen wearing face masks distributed by health officials.

Allergic reactions, severe coughing and sore throats have been blamed on the smoke.

Siripat said he had instructed health and labour officials to take care of people affected by the fire and smoke.

Some residents moved out of their homes on Sunday and Monday, planning to live temporarily with relatives elsewhere.

Fire-fighters working in shifts through the night were still pumping water on the factory on Monday amid lingering white smoke.

The factory’s storage building was destroyed, with Siripat estimating the cost at Bt100 million.

Containers holding flammable gloves and an adjacent office building were still smouldering and threatening to rekindle.

Backhoes were ready to help clear debris and give fire-fighters better access.

Able to limit the fire’s spread, officials expected it to be fully extinguished later on Monday, provided no strong winds arose that might fan the flames.

No one was injured in the fire itself, which broke out on Sunday morning, sending thick black smoke hundreds of metres into the air, where it was visible for kilometres around.

The smoke reportedly prompted officials at nearby Trang Airport to move departures and landings from the eastern to the western runway.

The Thai Kong Co factory had reported investment capital of Bt1.8 billion and employed nearly 2,000 workers.

The cause of fire remains unknown.

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