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Firework Factory Explosion Causes Multiple Casualties in Thailand

An explosion at a firework factory in Thailand on Wednesday, Jan. 17, killed at least 20 people. There were also multiple people injured, but it is not clear how many. The incident occurred in Suphan Buri, about 75 miles (120 km) northwest of Bangkok. About 20 to 30 workers were in the factory, but not everyone has been found. 

Nattapat Suwanprateep, the provincial governor, stated, “We cannot tell whether all the workers were killed. The officials are entering the site to investigate. They have not found any survivors.”

The Samerkun Suphan Buri Rescue Foundation had rescue workers on the scene. One worker, Kristada Manee-In, mentioned it was unclear how many casualties there were because the bodies were in pieces. The foundation estimated that 15 to 17 people were killed. 

The cause of this explosion is not clear and is currently being investigated. The explosion resulted in a fire in the area, as well. The fire was put out and forensic officers and rescue workers began searching for bodies. The factory was demolished. 

“We do not see more damage toward other houses or people who live in the community,” said police colonel Theerapoj Rawangban.

Firework factory explosions seem to be common in Thailand. It was confirmed that another explosion at the same factory happened back in November, killing one and critically injuring three more. 

Srettha Thavisin, the Prime Minister has ordered the factory to be inspected to see if it was legally operating and to understand whether or not the explosion was due to negligence.

In July 2023, another firework explosion at a warehouse in the village of Mu No in Narathiwat province killed 12 people and left 121 injured. This explosion damaged more than 100 houses within a 1,640-foot (500-meter) radius. The governor of Narathiwat said this explosion was likely due to sparks from metal welding from construction work igniting the fireworks.

Photos surfaced on social media showing thick black smoke in the area where the explosion took place. The smoke can be seen over an unoccupied rice field, as Suphan Buri is known as the heart of the central rice-growing region in Thailand.

This fatal incident comes less than a month before Chinese New Year, which will be Feb. 10. The demand for fireworks increases around this time since fireworks are used heavily on this holiday.

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