Two elderly women have been killed and 52 people injured after a PTT gas pipeline explosion happened south of Bangkok on Thursday afternoon. People in Samut Prakan ran in panic from nearby homes, some of which were also engulfed in flames. Students also fled in fear from an adjoining school.
Even more two elderly women were killed, both in their 80s and one of them bed-ridden.
Samut Prakan police said the gas pipeline explosion was on 200 Years Road, opposite Preng police station in Bang Bo district of Samut Prakan. Flames also quickly spread, and residents of nearby houses fled to safety. Other residents were evacuated by Samut Prakan police.
Chaipoj Charoonpong, deputy Samut Prakan governor, confirmed two elderly women were killed. They were Mali Boonman, 81, who was bed-ridden, and Lamai Harnhiran, 82. He said 52 others were injured because of the blastand and were rushed to six hospitals.
About four houses were also badly damaged and another half dozen had roof damage.
Devastation at the scene of the Gas Pipeline explosion
An operations centre was being set up at Wat Preng Rat Bamrung, which was very close to the explosion, to provide assistance to affected people, he said.
A cook at nearby Preng Wisutthathipbodi School said the 200 students ran for their lives. They were first startled by the explosion and then consequently terrified as flames lit up the sky. She heard three loud bangs.
Residents said a construction vehicle was filling land nearby before the pipe exploded. Reports said 40-50 fire engines were called to the scene to battle the huge blaze.
Wutthikorn Stithit, senior executive vice president of PTT’s gas business unit, said the explosion was from a PTT gas pipe leading to the Asia Industrial Estate Suvaranabhumi. A PTT press statement said the explosion occurred after natural gas leaked from a pipe and caught fire about 12.55pm.
Early reports said the explosion occurred at the Asia Industrial Estate Suvarnabhumi. This was later corrected.
Supat Sawadchuto, director of the Asia Industrial Estate Suvarnabhumi, said the explosion was about 5km away.
The blaze was brought under control by late afternoon the Bangkok Post reported.
Meanwhile, officials from the Department of Pollution Control have been on site, to check for hazardous substances which may have been left at the scene of the explosion and which may threaten the health of people in the neighborhood.
An official from the Department of Pollution Control said that NGV gas is normally completely burned, leaving only soot, which may be carried away by wind to areas far away from the scene of explosion.