BANGKOK, Thailand – A devastating explosion rocked a fireworks factory in central Thailand, claiming the lives of at least 23 people, according to a rescue worker. The exact death toll remains uncertain, but Kritsada Manee-In, from the Samerkun Suphan Buri Rescue Foundation, estimated the number of fatalities to be around 23. Local media provided varying reports on the number of casualties.
Online photos shared by local rescue workers in Suphan Buri province revealed the aftermath of the explosion, with the factory site leveled flat in the middle of a vacant rice field, scattered with debris and body parts.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, but the incident occurred less than a month before the Chinese New Year in February, a time when demand for fireworks typically surges.
This tragic event is reminiscent of a similar catastrophe that took place in July last year, when a massive explosion at a fireworks warehouse in southern Thailand resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people and injuries to over 100. The explosion in Narathiwat province occurred in a residential area, causing extensive damage to approximately 100 houses within a 500-meter radius, as reported by the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
The governor of Narathiwat attributed the blast to construction work being carried out in the warehouse, suggesting that sparks from metal welding ignited the fireworks stored inside, leading to the catastrophic explosion. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers associated with fireworks production and storage.
The devastation caused by these explosions underscores the importance of stringent safety measures in factories and warehouses handling hazardous materials such as fireworks. The authorities must conduct thorough investigations into the cause of the blast and take necessary steps to prevent such tragedies from recurring in the future, ensuring the safety of both workers and the surrounding community.