Ming Dih Chemical Factory Explosion Sparks Air & Water Quality Concerns

July 7, 2021

Extinguishing the first blaze took more than one day after it started.

Chemicals at Ming Dih Chemical factory, in Samut Prakan, Thailand, burst back into flames on July 6.

Extinguishing the first blaze took more than one day after it started, with an explosion that blew out the windows and doors of nearby homes early July 5, reported AP News. Firefighters, who only wore surgical masks, tried to douse the site with water and foam, but flames broke out again.

More than 60 people were injured in the disaster at the foam and plastic pellet manufacturing factory. This included a dozen emergency responders, and an 18-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed, according to AP News.

According to AP News, the police are still determining the cause of the explosion and the Thai government is being urged to provide the public with more information on the chemicals that were released. Styrene monomer, which is used in the production of disposable foam plates and other products, can produce poisonous fumes when ignited.

Attapol Charoenchansa, head of the country’s pollution control department, said teams were testing the air quality and water in the area of the factory, reported AP News. 

Authorities ordered a 3-mile area around the factory near Bangkok’s main airport to evacuate during the fire.

Rain that fell July 6 afternoon could wash the chemicals into water sources, reported AP News. 

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered authorities to find as much information as possible on contamination of soil, ground water, the city’s drinking water and air, reported AP News.

According to officials, shockwaves from the initial explosion damaged about 100 houses and 15 cars. 

A fire at another factory broke out the evening of July 6 in eastern Bangkok as well, reported AP News. There were no casualties reported and the fire was put under control after several hours.

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