A fire and explosion at a plastics factory in Bangkok initially injured 21 people on July 5. Despite firefighters’ efforts to extinguish the blaze, it was rekindled on July 6, causing a second explosion that killed one firefighter and injured 18 others.
The incident occurred at a factory belonging to Ming Dih Chemical, a producer of plastic foam and pellets, in Bangkok’s Bang Phli district. The factory is located just a couple of miles from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
A five-kilometer evacuation order was issued shortly after the explosion that occurred in the early hours of the morning. The evacuation order reportedly affected about 80,000 local residents. Concerns were raised after the fire and explosion caused a large plume of dark and potentially dangerous smoke to rise into the sky. Emergency services were also concerned after the fire began spreading to other nearby factories that also stockpiled chemicals.
According to the Bangkok Post, Ming Dih Chemical’s factory housed around 50 tons of chemicals at the time of the incident. The fire, which was first reported around 02:50 local time, engulfed the entire factory and even damaged other buildings located a mile from the site. Black smoke from the site spread from the factory and could be seen from Bangkok airport. However, flights were not affected.
More than 30 fire trucks boarded the blaze with the help of military helicopters. It was said to be extinct at dawn. However, a day later, on July 6, the fire ignited again and caused another explosion. A firefighter was killed at the scene and the explosion injured 18 others.
Local officials monitored air quality in the area surrounding the factory for the two days and said it was considered safe despite the resurgence of the fire and the second explosion. Officials also analyzed the waters of local canals, which also proved safe. Locals were told to avoid drinking tap water as a precaution.
After the second fire was extinguished, officials tested the air quality at the site again and said the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was high but harmless.
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