Fire at Thailand chemicals facility

Article by Amanda Doyle

AN EXPLOSION and fire at a chemicals facility in Bangkok has killed one person and injured more than 60 others.

The explosion occurred at the Ming Dih Chemical facility just outside Bangkok at around 03:00 local time on 5 July. According to The Washington Post, and 18-year-old volunteer rescue worker was killed, and more than 60 people were injured.

There were reports of windows being blown out in houses near the facility. People living within a 5 km radius were evacuated over concerns of toxic fumes from the smoke. Ming Dih manufactures expanded polystyrene. Styrene monomer can produce poisonous fumes when ignited, and styrene gas is a neurotoxin that can immobilise people who inhale it within minutes.

The fire was extinguished around 24 hours after the explosion, according to the Bangkok Post, but the fire reignited at around 16:00 on 6 July. The Washington Post reported that the second fire burned for around an hour.

According to The Washington Post, the factory manager reported that he and eight staff members were woken by a strong chemical smell as they slept on the site. They evacuated just before the explosion occurred.

The Bangkok Post reported that the Department of Pollution Control is monitoring air quality as well as checking drains and sewers for contaminated run-off water.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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