Refinery fire put out, death toll rises to five

SI RACHA (AFP): Thai firefighters yesterday finally put out a fire which had raged at an oil refinery for 35 hours. By that time the death toll had risen to five, with the discovery of more bodies at the site of the initial explosion and subsequent fire. The blaze started after the blast ripped through a storage tank at the Thai Oil Co refinery late on Thursday night near the town of Si Racha, 70 kilometers southeast of Bangkok. “The fire was already under control but we used chemicals to put it out completely,” said Pol Col Sathit Charoenpipob of Laem Chabang Police Station. He said that hundreds of firefighters used 15 fire trucks to spray tens of thousands of liters of chemical foam, much of it flown in from Singapore by the Royal Thai Air Force. In addition to the five dead, Col Sathit said 15 people were injured in the explosion, two of whom are in serious condition. Thai Oil said the fire consumed more than 30 million liters of oil and caused damage estimated at 500 million baht. “Four oil storage tanks were completely burned down, along with another empty tank,” Thai Oil Managing Director Chulachit Buayakhet said. The cause of the explosion is not yet known, but police say it may have been due to a build-up of vapor being sparked in one of the tanks. Environmental damage was expected to be limited as the thick black smoke and fumes were pushed out to sea by the prevailing wind. But police evacuated some residents and gas masks were handed out to others to ward off fumes of carbon monoxide.

Phuket News

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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