BANGKOK, THAILAND: Tragedy struck central Thailand on Wednesday as an explosion at a fireworks factory claimed the lives of at least 23 people, according to a rescue worker. The exact number of casualties is still unclear, but Kritsada Manee-In, a rescue worker with the Samerkun Suphan Buri Rescue Foundation, estimated that around 23 individuals lost their lives in the devastating blast. Local media outlets have reported varying death tolls, highlighting the confusion and urgency of the situation.
Photos circulating online, posted by local rescue workers in Suphan Buri province, depict the aftermath of the explosion. The factory site, located in an otherwise unoccupied rice field, has been reduced to flat ground, strewn with debris and tragic remnants of the incident.
The cause of the explosion remains a mystery, coming less than a month before the upcoming Chinese New Year in February. The demand for fireworks typically surges during this time, adding to the significance and impact of the tragic event. Last year, a similar explosion at a fireworks warehouse in southern Thailand resulted in the loss of at least 10 lives and injured over 100 individuals, according to officials.
In that incident, which occurred in Narathiwat province, a residential area bore the brunt of the explosion, damaging around 100 houses within a 500-meter radius, as reported by the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. The governor of Narathiwat suggested that the blast was likely ignited by the ongoing construction work in the warehouse, with sparks from metal welding causing the fireworks stored inside to catch fire and explode.
The devastating explosion in central Thailand has once again placed a spotlight on the safety and regulation of fireworks manufacturing and storage. As the investigation into the cause of this tragedy continues, authorities and safety agencies are expected to reevaluate and strengthen safety measures to prevent such incidents in the future. The impact of the explosion has deeply affected the local community, prompting urgent discussions on safety protocols and regulations in the fireworks industry.