The massive fire at the chemical factory on the outskirts of Bangkok, billowing toxic gas into the air, affected around 80,000 people. An explosion at the Ming Dih Chemical polystyrene factory in Samut Prakan, just outside the capital, led to a chemical fire that took more than 25 hours to put out. Those in Bangkok could see the smoke.
A volunteer firefighter from a rescue foundation was killed in the fire. Dozens of people and firefighters were injured. Helicopters were deployed to spray flame retardant foam to control the blaze.
Those who live in a 5- to a 10-kilometre radius around the factory were told to evacuate. Emergency shelters were set up to house the evacuees until the blaze was under control. Thailand’s Pollution Control Department has warned that the fumes from styrene monomers are carcinogenic and should not be inhaled. In an initial inspection yesterday, the air quality in the area within a kilometre of the factory was harmful to health.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister says the department needs to ensure the air quality nearby the factory is safe before those residents are told they can return home. He also noted that for 3 decades, but an Environmental Impact Assessment, or EIA, was never done.
Provincial governor Wanchai Kongkasem said more than 34,000 people in the tambon Racha Thewa, more than 18,000 people in tambon Bang Phli Yai, around 23,000 people in tambon Bang Kaew, and more than 4,000 people tambon Bang Chalong.
Around 180 people have file complaints of damage against the chemical company, according to the chief of Samut Prakan provincial police. The company released a statement saying it would offer compensation for the damages.
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