Suphan Buri Horror: 22 lives lost in fireworks factory blast. Prime Minister orders probe into factory’s dark history. National safety concerns about fireworks escalate after the latest and most devastating explosion.

Authorities in Thailand on Wednesday have been left stunned by a devastating explosion in Suphan Buri province in which at least 22 people lost their lives. All workers at the factory are thought to have perished in a massive explosion which wiped out the facility. Presently, the extent of the death toll is being established and the identities of those who perished are being published. In the meantime, the police chief has vowed to get to the bottom of the catastrophe. From Davos in Switzerland, a shocked and sombre Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin also made a similar promise. The factory was the subject of another explosion in November 2022 in which three were injured and one killed. 

National Police Chief General Torsak Sukwimol took charge of the response to the disaster on Wednesday. He promised a full investigation and legal action if any wrongdoing was found. The devastation of the tragedy even left responding firefighters shocked with fears that all workers at the fireworks factory may have lost their lives.

A disaster erupted in Suphan Buri on Wednesday afternoon. Tragedy struck when a firework manufacturing factory, situated in Village No. 3, Sala Khao Subdistrict, Mueang Suphan Buri District blew up.

The facility where 30 people were reported to be working was completely destroyed in a catastrophic explosion.

At this time, with the death toll rising, there are at least 22 lives lost and numerous injuries.

The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m. It has sent shockwaves through the community and the wider nation prompting an immediate response from authorities.

Police chief took charge of the response to the disaster. Police General Torsak promised the cause of the explosion will be identified and action taken 

As the news of the explosion unfolded, Police Commander General Torsak Sukwimon took charge of the situation. Expressing his deep condolences to the families of the victims, he wasted no time in mobilising resources to address the aftermath.

Police General Torsak issued a solemn statement: ‘If any wrongdoing is found, every person will be prosecuted according to the law.’ 

This commitment to a thorough investigation comes as stunned emergency workers are still at the scene. The facility was utterly destroyed or wiped out. Firefighters were trying to make sense of the devastation where many lives have been lost.

Prime Minister issued a statement from the World Economic Forum Summit in Davos. The PM remains in close contact with officials directing the response

At the same time as the tragedy unfolded, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, attending the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was informed. On Wednesday, he remained in close contact with officials directing the response to the unfolding situation in Thailand. 

Later, the PM expressed profound sadness over what happened.

Prime Minister Srettha ordered the Governor of Suphan Buri to expedite assistance in the affected area. He further emphasised the need for a comprehensive investigation into the legality of the factory’s operations. Officials have been tasked to get to the bottom of what led to the lethal explosion. 

‘Action must be taken according to the law to the fullest extent because there were innocent deaths and injuries,’ declared Mr Srettha.

Disturbing news of another fatal explosion at the plant in November 2022. It later resumed operations. Why weren’t lessons learned from that incident?

In an initial investigation, it was revealed that the factory had faced a similar explosion in November 2022. Despite this, the factory resumed operations which shockingly has led to yet another devastating blast. 

The factory, located in the middle of a rice field with no nearby residential houses, had a valid licence to operate.

Questions loom about the adequacy of safety measures and regulatory oversight, especially in view of this latest catastrophe. Why weren’t lessons learned from that similarly fatal incident?

First responders, primarily fire officials, faced a daunting scene as they reached the site of the explosion.

Initially notified of a firecracker packaging factory, they hurriedly approached the location, still hearing the echoes of explosions.

Firefighters were stunned. When they arrived at the scene the factory was gone. The explosion levelled everything leaving devastation in its precincts

Expecting a structure related to firecracker production, the responders were met with a levelled area. Damaged vehicles, including a pickup truck and over ten motorcycles, bore witness to the force of the explosion.

As they shouted, asking if anyone was hurt, the silence that followed was chilling. Certainly, it was confirmation of the deadly severity of the incident. Villagers nearby sadly reported that they saw no one running out.

In the aftermath, the death toll, initially reported at 18, tragically increased to 22. The condition of the area was described as completely flattened.

The immensity of the destruction caused by the explosion stunned seasoned emergency workers.

The blast not only claimed lives but also left many nearby injured, marking it as one of the darkest days in Suphan Buri’s recent history.

Previous explosion was examined by officials. Three were injured and one killed when a pile of gunpowder exploded after workers used a fire extinguisher

The factory’s history of a previous explosion in November 2022 raised serious concerns about safety practices. 

During that incident, the explosion caused damage to the factory, with scrap metal and roofs collapsing. Three individuals sustained serious injuries, and one lost their life. Despite this grim warning, the factory, equipped with its valid licence, continued operations.

As authorities worked to assess the damage and come to terms with the incident, a list of deceased individuals has emerged. 

Among them were Ms Namfon Kerdnok, Ms Phayao Bunklom, Ms Bunkua Thongsamrit, Mr Thaweesak Thongsamrit, Ms Ratchanee Phanton, Mr Rungroj Umnoi, Ms Somnuk Boonklong, Ms Manop Wadphanin, Ms Pornthip Phantaeng, and Mr Keng.

Presently, Investigators are trying to establish the final death tally and confirm the identities of those who perished. Additional names are expected in due course.

Meanwhile, in light of today’s disaster, the factory’s previous explosion in 2022 is being examined.

That explosion was triggered by workers attempting to extinguish a fire. Smoke had been observed, prompting the use of a fire extinguisher. Unfortunately, this inadvertently caused the spread of sparks, leading to an explosion in a pile of gunpowder.

Questions about the safety of fireworks facilities

However, fears are rising that given the devastation and loss of life within the factory on Wednesday, there may not be any eyewitnesses alive from among the factory’s workers who went to work on Wednesday and by mid-afternoon were gone.

At the same time, this is one of numerous devastating explosions linked with fireworks facilities in Thailand. 

Massive fireworks blast at a popular trading point in Narathiwat leaves at least nine people dead
Arrests ordered in Narathiwat fireworks blast, death toll reaches 12 with 300 homes ruined

Undoubtedly, it is the greatest loss of life. However, questions must be asked given that after a devastating explosion in Narathiwat in July 2023, a safety crackdown was ordered.

At length, 12 people died in that disaster and a whole community was levelled with 300 houses destroyed. 

Afterwards, a national survey of all such facilities was ordered by the Royal Thai Police.

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Further reading:

Arrests ordered in Narathiwat fireworks blast, death toll reaches 12 with 300 homes ruined

Massive fireworks blast at a popular trading point in Narathiwat leaves at least nine people dead