Thai driver’s vehicle carrying hazardous chemical catches fire

Photo courtesy of Sanook.

A Thai driver transporting a dangerous chemical called aluminium phosphate, commonly used to eliminate agricultural pests, last night found himself in a precarious situation when his vehicle caught fire.

The incident unfolded in Soi Porn Sawang 7, Samrong Nua Subdistrict, Samut Prakan. A rapid response by local fire crews and the Ruamkatanyu Foundation contained the situation, preventing a potential disaster.

The driver 37 year old driver Thossawin, was heading from Nonthaburi to dispose of the chemical in Soi Bearing 66. He noticed smoke from his vehicle only upon reaching the Samrong area.

He emphasised that the chemical wasn’t leaking but was reacting with air, leading to spontaneous combustion. His vehicle carried approximately five boxes of the chemical.

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Aluminium phosphate, when exposed to large volumes, can cause dizziness and vomiting. Continuous exposure for about 15 minutes can potentially be fatal. The chemical reacts explosively with water, making the initial attempts to douse the fire with water counterproductive.

It resulted in intensified flames and intermittent loud noises. However, the situation was brought under control when the response team decided to use dry sand to smother the flames. The chemical-laden vehicle was later moved for further disposal at a factory in Soi Bearing, reports Sanook.

Driver panic

Dr Luekrut Phetbodi, the Mayor of Samrong Nua Subdistrict, explained that the driver had panicked when the vehicle caught fire on Sukhumvit Road and had attempted to find an open area, inadvertently entering a densely populated neighbourhood. The mayor assured the public that the area was now safe and that the chemicals would be safely disposed of in an open area.

Police Captain Viroj Tadsao, Samrong Nua Police Station Superintendent, stated that the vehicle used to transport the chemical did not meet the standards set by the Ministry of Public Health.

The vehicle was used as a substitute for the original transport vehicle, which had broken down. The authorities had cordoned off the area and were awaiting the removal of the chemical for further disposal.

Thanyathorn Sudkaew, Deputy Public Health Officer of Mueang Samut Prakan District, advised anyone who may have been exposed to the chemical to monitor their health.

Initial exposure could irritate, but prolonged or significant exposure could lead to more serious symptoms, including possible respiratory failure. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Aluminium phosphate is a dark grey or yellow solid that releases flammable gases when in contact with water or humid air. It can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory system and can be fatal if inhaled in large quantities. The chemical is usually used to exterminate pests that damage crops.

Thailand News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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