Bangkok: Officials said an explosion near the Thai capital’s Bangkok International Airport on Monday caused a fire in a plastic factory, killing at least one firefighter and injuring 27 people.
As rescuers continue to evacuate residents near the scene, thick black smoke can be seen rising from the city center 35 kilometers (21 miles) away.
The blast occurred around 3 am at Taiwan-based Ming Dih Chemical Co., located on the outskirts of Bangkok near Suvarnabhumi airport.
“We have 27 injured, mostly from cuts, and one dead who was a firefighter,” said Somsak Kaewsena, the chief of Bang Pli district where the factory is located.
He told AFP that 500 residents had so far been evacuated to two shelters. By noon, elderly residents in wheelchairs were evacuated to a nearby school about 9 kilometres away.
Lieutenant General Ampon Buarubporn stated that the public has been ordered to stay away from the explosion site within a radius of at least 500 meters.
“We do not know if there is anything left to explode,” he said, adding that authorities are still working to get the fire under control.
Rescuers drove an ambulance nearby and told thousands of residents to leave for their safety through loudspeakers.
The cause of the explosion is unclear.