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30 hurt as firemen battle huge chemical factory fire 




A MASSIVE fire at a foam and plastic pellet factory on King Kaew Road in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakran province was still not extinguished six hours after a series of explosions triggered the blaze at 3.10 a.m. this morning (July 5) with vibrations felt in a wide area and surrounding houses and vehicles damaged, Sanook.com and Amarin TV said.

Dense cloud of black smoke is still emanating from Ming Dih Chemical Co., Ltd factory with people in a radius of five kilometres being ordered to evacuate to a safe area because there are reports that there are still large chemical tanks containing 20,000 litres of flammable liquid near the eruption point that could spark more explosions.

At least 30 people have been injured including the factory’s Taiwanese manager who was sleeping on a bed in an office within the compound. 

The violent explosions damaged various buildings including other factories, houses, flats, cars and motorcycles in a radius of over a kilometre.

The vibrations of the explosions were felt in Bangna, Lat Krabang, Bang Bo, even Mueang district of Samut Prakan province. 

One of the company’s workers said the blasts were triggered by the chemical styrene monomer which is used to produce plastic pellets.

Before the blasts 10 workers were working in the factory and after this chemical spilled they quickly fled. Ten minutes later the string of blasts set off.

Firefighters rushed to fight the huge blaze and help the injured. They said many more people could be injured.

People in the vicinity were warned to avoid touching anything and not inhale the smoke from this fire as this chemical is harmful to the skin and respiratory system.

According to Trinseo.com, styrene is a clear, colourless aromatic liquid that comes from petroleum and natural gas. Styrene-based polymers are used to make products we use every day such as appliances and electronics, automotive components, flooring, insulation, medical devices, packaging, paper coatings, toys and consumer goods, and tyres.

The safety of styrene has been evaluated for over 50 years and extensive health and safety studies conducted by manufacturers, academics and government agencies have concluded that, as currently used, styrene-based plastics are safe for consumer use. In fact, the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that styrene is not harmful in the amounts people encounter – whether in the workplace or in daily life. This conclusion has been supported by many well-respected international groups and regulatory agencies, including the European Union, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, the US FDA, and Health/Environment Canada.

Some regulatory bodies have assigned a hazard classification to styrene monomer (2a, CMR2, Prop 65), but it’s important to note that these classifications and listings refer to the monomer, not products made from it.  These hazard classifications of the monomer do not reflect the risk for users of styrene-based polymers or end-use products.


The massive fire at the foam and plastic pellet factory with other factories, flats, houses and vehicles nearby damaged. Photos: Sanook.com

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