Death toll in Maptaput factory fire rises to 12

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The death toll from a fire at a factory in the Maptaput industrial estate has risen to 12, while 24 out of 142 injured people remain hospitalized, according to the Public Health Ministry on Sunday.

Dr Surawit Khonsomboon, deputy public health minister, said that the explosion and fire at a unit of Bangkok Synthetics Co (BST), a petrochemical factory in this industrial estate in the eastern province of Rayong killed 12 people including nine on-site and three at the hospital later.

Two bodies remain unidentified while 24 out of 142 injured victims remain hospitalized.

Two patients are in critical condition and the province’s emergency plan is still in place. Residents in ten communities around the industrial estate have evacuated to the Pattaya side.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday travelled by a helicopter to visit the injured and convened a meeting with local officials to discuss measures mitigating any impact from the explosion and chemical leakage.

Industry Minister Pongsvas Svasti said the factory was ordered to close and residents were able to return by Sunday.

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) Governor Veerapong Chaiperm and Dr. Wijarn Simachaya, Director-General of the Pollution Control Department, met leaders of local communities around the industrial estate for discussions about the aftermath of the explosion and possible environmental impacts.

Residents asked officials to step up surveillance and prevention measures.

According to the officials, air quality inspection found the level of air pollution is still at normal and safe levels.

Air quality monitoring equipment will be installed at the site and mobile units will be dispatched to patrol nearby areas.