An explosion at a fireworks factory in central Thailand has left at least 22 people dead and many others injured. The blast happened at approximately 3:30 PM in Muang district’s tambon Salakhao of Suphan Buri.
The blast’s impact swept debris over a 100-metre radius, leaving human bodies scattered everywhere. Residents reported roughly 20 workers had arrived at the plant in the morning, and no one had come out after the explosion.
“We don’t know if all of the workers died. Officials are entering the location to investigate. They have not discovered any survivors,” provincial governor Nattapat Suwanprateep told post reporters earlier.
Thongsuk Suenui, deputy chairman of Tambon Salakhao municipality, stated that the plant owner was not among the deceased since he was out delivering fireworks to clients at the time.
The factory operated from a farmhouse that housed gunpowder and other raw ingredients for fireworks. The operator requested approval from the proper agencies and had a public hearing. According to locals, an explosion occurred at the same workplace in November 2022, killing one worker.
Probe into Fireworks Blast
Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was briefed on the explosion while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and has demanded a prompt inquiry.
“The prime minister ordered an inspection of the plant to see whether it was operating legally and whether the explosion resulted from negligence. “The law must be strictly enforced because there have been innocent deaths and injuries,” his office stated.
According to local officials, the 20 confirmed deaths included 12 women and 8 males.
According to records, 24 explosions occurred in fireworks factories and warehouses between 2008 and 2023, each causing substantial damage and resulting in many deaths and injuries.
According to Sonthi Kotchawat, an environmental and health specialist, many illicit fireworks factories and warehouses do not meet requirements in various communities across Thailand.
Following a disaster in Narathiwat in July 2023 that killed 11 people and injured 389, Mr Sonthi stated that the lack of essential agencies to build partnerships to proactively address this problem was obvious. To prevent history from repeating, he said they should examine and alter all relevant rules and regulations and enhance punishments for violators.
Factory Bubble Zones
According to Mr Sonthi, a fireworks factory or warehouse that meets the standards must include a “bubble zone” – with a fence set up at least 20 meters from its building – and have a reserved area that prevents any community expansion from getting into its 100- to 500-metre radius depending on the number of fireworks in the factory.
The factory building must be a one-story standalone structure with no subterranean or mezzanine floors. It must be constructed from inflammable materials and include a lightning rod.
The roof must be able to mitigate the effects of an explosion. Furthermore, it must include a ventilation system that drains heat and keeps temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius and two chemical fire extinguishers per 100 square metres.
Thailand is one of the world’s major pyrotechnics manufacturers, noted for its high quality and skilful artistry. The industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with several factories established on the outskirts of Bangkok and in the provinces.
These facilities employ many local individuals and contribute to the national economy. Fireworks are sold to various nations, and the business is vital to Thailand’s foreign trade. The production process requires careful respect for safety standards, and the goods go through rigorous quality control tests to ensure conformity with global norms and standards.
Thailand’s brilliant and colourful fireworks displays at festivals and festivities demonstrate the ability and artistry of the country’s fireworks manufacturers.