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06-05-12, 03:03 AM #1
12 killed, 129 injured in factory explosion
Three killed in factory explosion
Thousands evacuated near Industrial Estate to escape fire's toxic gases
Published: 6/05/2012 at 12:08 AMOnline news: Local Newse
RAYONG: At least three people were killed and about 50 people injured when an explosion and fire broke out at a petrochemical factory on Map Ta Phut industrial estate.
Thousands of people were evacuated from nearby factories and communities in a three kilometre radius of the estate to prevent them from inhaling toxic gases.
The explosion occurred at a unit of Bangkok Synthetics Co (BST) at about 3.45pm, followed by a fire that sent thick black smoke into the sky.
The search for victims continued Saturday night, health authorities said.
Most of the dead and injured were workers and mechanics at the factory.
They suffered from inhaling toxic gases, burns and wounds from the blast.
Rayong Governor Senee Jittakasem declared the industrial estate and surrounding area, covering 30 communities, a disaster zone to facilitate the emergency operation.
The governor also instructed people in 10 communities near the estate to evacuate, although the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) confirmed that air-monitoring stations in the area detected no irregularities in air quality.
Firefighters used foam to douse the blaze. It took more than four hours to get the fire under control.
Mr Senee said an initial investigation found that the blast occurred when workers were putting toluene, a type of chemical widely used as an industrial feedstock and as a solvent, into a tank.
The blast ignited a fire that ravaged part of the factory but did not spread to nearby factories. However, some buildings at adjacent plants were damaged by the blast, said IEAT governor Verapong Chaiperm.
Mr Verapong said he had ordered factories near the BST plant to suspend operations and evacuate their staff.
Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon said toluene could cause serious health effects if a person inhaled a large amount of it. Exposure to even a small amount would cause minor ailments such as breathing difficulty, dizziness and vomiting.
Sumetha Wichienpet, chief of hazardous response and remedial action at the Pollution Control Department, said toluene was not carcinogenic and its health impact would be short term.
Dr Naris Onprom, director of Rayong Hospital, confirmed that a 30-year-old male worker had died at the hospital.
The victim was identified as Chaiya Aksornsri. He suffered severe head injuries and burns to 50% of his body.
An official at Map Ta Phut Hospital said two people died at the hospital, but their identities were not revealed.
Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti said the BST plant had suspended production for maintenance. He believed an error during the work caused the accident.
MR Pongsvas, who will inspect the site today, said he had briefed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra about the accident. She had instructed agencies to take care of the injured and speed up compensation for all those affected.
According to BST's website, the company was established in 1991. The company's products include Butadiene, Butene-1,MTBE and C4 Raffinates, which are major raw materials of downstream petrochemical processes such as the manufacturing of synthetic rubbers and plastic resins.
BANGKOK POST + PICS
06-05-12, 04:12 PM #2
Re: Three killed in factory explosion Thousands evacuated near Industrial Estate to e
Map Ta Phut toll: 12 dead,129 injured
Published: 6/05/2012 at 02:15 PMOnline news:
Twelve people were killed and 129 hurt in the explosion and fire at a petrochemical factory at the Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Rayong province on Saturday, Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon confirmed on Sunday.
Mr Surawit said of the 12 killed, nine died in the explosion at a factory owned by Bangkok Synthethics Co (BSC), two at Bangkok-Rayong Hospital and one at Rayong Hospital.
Of the 129 injured, 99 had been released and 30 were still undergoing treatment - seven at Rayong Hospital, five at Map Ta Phut Hospital, 17 at Bangkok-Rayong Hospital, and one at Queen Sirikit Hospital.
Mr Surawit said the costs of medical treatment for the injured will be taken care of by the government under three healthcare schemes.
Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti said he had ordered the closure of the factory where the explosion occurred. He has also instructed other factories in the industrial estate to recheck their security systems since the operations of more than half of them concern chemicals.
Verapong Chaiperm, governor of the Industrial Estates Authority of Thailand, said the fire at the factory was extinguished early Sunday. The damage had yet to be assessed, he said.
Kessarin Raksasang, an environment officer at BSC, said toluene might have caused the fire after being exposed to excessive heat.
Before the fire, the factory was closed for repairs, she said.
07-05-12, 05:07 AM #3
Re: 12 killed, 129 injured in factory explosion
Toxic fears grip Rayong locals
Panel to probe effects of blast as death toll hits 12
Published: 7/05/2012 at 02:05 AMOnline news: Local News
RAYONG: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has set up a tripartite committee to examine possible toxic contamination in the Map Ta Phut area following the chemical explosion at a petrochemical factory as the death toll rose to 12.
Ms Yingluck Sunday visited workers injured in the incident before going to Map Ta Phut industrial estate where she chaired a meeting of state agencies to discuss the blast at the Bangkok Synthetics Co (BST) factory on Saturday afternoon.
See also: Dozens fall ill
The prime minister, who was accompanied by Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidith and Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti, ordered the formation of a tripartite committee to look for toxic residues in the environment.
The committee consists of experts from the Industry Ministry, the Pollution Control Department and representatives of local communities.
The move followed mounting fears among residents and factory workers over possible contamination by hazardous substances in the air and water as a result of the blast.
Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon Sunday said 12 people were killed and 129 wounded in the accident. Nine were killed in the explosion at the BST factory; the other three died at hospital.
Sunday, 27 of the wounded were receiving treatment at Rayong, Map Ta Phut, Bangkok-Rayong and Queen Sirikit hospitals, Mr Surawit said.
Local hospitals were Sunday crowded with relatives and friends of those killed to identify and claim the bodies of their loved ones.
However, some relatives were told by hospital staff that they could not pick up the corpses, as they would be sent to Bangkok for post-mortem examinations.
Some factory workers living near the plant brought their family members to the hospital for medical check ups. (Story continues after the photos)
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