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One fireman dead, others pull out as blaze approaches oil tank

THE battle to put out a massive fire at a foam and plastic pellet factory in King Kaew Soi 21, Samut Prakan province, intensified with firemen told to withdraw from the compound at 12.45 p.m. because the blaze was approaching an oil tank, Sanook.com said.

At noon one firefighter died at the scene and three others got severely injured after a new explosion occurred with this triggered by a chemical leaking at the compound.

The violent explosions from the fire within the 10-rai factory compound started at 3.10 a.m. with buildings and vehicles in a radius of over a kilometre damaged.

Read earlier report: 30 hurt as firemen battle huge chemical factory fire 

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

Meanwhile Mr. Kittipong Kittikachorn, deputy director of Suvarnabhumi Airport Operations Line 1, Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT), said the huge factory fire has not affected flight visibility and planes are flying normally.

However some areas of the airport are within the evacuation radius with the project office now closed and staff told to work from home.

Mr. Tinakorn Chuwong, deputy director of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd  (Aerothai) said the thick smoke from the fire has not affected pilots’ visibility because it had risen high before blowing to the glide path of the airport and planes can fly in and out normally.

“At present Aerothai and AOT are monitoring and assessing the risks because the fire has not been controlled and we are watching out for a second wave of explosions from a 20,000-litre chemical tank that is located a few kilometres from the centre of the western runway.

“If an explosion actually occurs we must quickly assess how severe the damage is. Especially around the runway whether there is a crack or not and how much smoke interferes with the airport, the taxiway, and the runway. If the runway is damaged or cracked or smoke blows in at a low level it could affect flights,”  Tinakorn said.


The huge fire at the foam and plastic pellet factory has still to be extinguished. Photos: Sanook.com

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