Blast at Thai factory shakes Bangkok airport, area evacuated

05 July, 2021
Blast at Thai factory shakes Bangkok airport, area evacuated
A massive explosion at a factory on the outskirts of Bangkok early on Monday (Jul 5) shook an airport terminal serving Thailand's capital, injured at least 11 people and prompted the evacuation of residents from the area, authorities said.

A fire broke out at around 3am at the foam and plastic pallet manufacturing factory in a south-eastern area just outside Bangkok near Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Firefighters could be seen in photos from Thai media climbing through twisted steel wreckage to get their hoses close enough to the flames as they fought to control the blaze.

Other photos showed nearby homes with their windows blown out and wreckage in the streets, with black smoke billowing over the area even hours later.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of an area 5km around the scene amid fears that thousands of litres of leaking chemicals may cause more explosions.

Evacuation centres were set up in a school and a government office for those forced from their homes.

Volunteer rescue worker Anyawut Phoampai told Thailand public TV station TPBS that going was slow trying to find people possibly still in the factory.

“We are trying to look for the injured,” he said. “But the flames are quite high so it takes quite an effort.”

He said that rescuers were also fanning out around the area to help people who reported being injured by falling debris.

So far, 11 injuries have been reported, including one serious, and people were being taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Hours after the explosion, the fire department said that the blaze was considered under control but had not yet been completely extinguished, with one warehouse still in flames.

There was no immediate word on what might have caused the fire in Bang Phli district, and the company was not reachable by phone.

Local media reported that the initial explosion shook the terminal building at Suvarnabhumi, setting off alarms at Bangkok's main international airport.

Airport officials said that no flights had been cancelled but offered no other immediate details.
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