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Evacuation underway of people near a burning chemical factory in Samut Prakan

People living within a five kilometre radius of a chemical factory in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan province have been asked to evacuate their homes temporarily for their safety, because poisonous fumes have been released following a fire there, which broke out early Monday morning.

Pollution Control Department Director-General Atthapol Charoenchansa told Thai PBS today (Monday) that the chemical is used in the production of plastic pellets and Styrofoam, adding that, when the chemical burns, it emits carbon monoxide and carcinogenic styrene monomer.

Fumes from the burned chemicals will cause eye irritation and, if inhaled, can cause stomach ache and nausea, said Mr. Atthapol.

The evacuation was ordered by Mr. Somsak Kaewsena, the district chief officer of Bang Phli district, as the chemical fire was still on fire late this morning. The evacuees are gathering at the Triam Parinyanuson School and at the head office of the Ruamkatanyu Foundation.

The fire started at about 3am at a warehouse belonging to the Ming Dih Chemical Company, in Soi Kingkaew 21, Racha Thewa sub-district in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan, at about 3am Monday morning.

Some witnesses, who live in the neighborhood of the factory, claimed they heard explosions before the fire broke out at the warehouse, which eventually spread to the factory.

The explosions damaged some of the houses located near the factory and one trailer truck, parked nearby, was torched.

Firemen spent about two hours pouring water and chemical foam into the burning warehouse, but could not control the fire, sending a huge plume of hazardous fumes into the sky.

Mr. Atthapol said a special team from the Pollution Control Department has been sent to the scene to measure the amount of hazardous chemical in the environment around the storage facility.

He also said that he had learned that there are still about 20,000 litres of unidentified chemicals near the scene of the fire which, he added, could only be extinguished by chemical foam.

The Chularat 9 Airport Hospital has ordered the postponement of COVID vaccination appointments until July 10th.

Meanwhile, the Health Department is advising people living around the factory to wear face masks to protect themselves against the hazardous fumes.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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