Eight people killed in chemical accident in Thai bank

Fire-extinguishing chemicals accidentally released during a safety system upgrade

A Thai police officer photographed in front of the Siam Commercial Bank building in  Bangkok.  At least eight people died and seven were hospitalised after fire suppression chemicals were accidentally released. Photograph:Narong Sangnak/EPA

A Thai police officer photographed in front of the Siam Commercial Bank building in Bangkok. At least eight people died and seven were hospitalised after fire suppression chemicals were accidentally released. Photograph:Narong Sangnak/EPA

 

Eight people have died and seven others were injured at the headquarters of one of Thailand’s largest banks when workers accidentally released fire-extinguishing chemicals during a safety system upgrade.

The accident happened on Sunday night in the basement of the Siam Commercial Bank’s headquarters in Bangkok.

The bank said an initial investigation found that the accident was caused by “negligence on the part of our contractors hired to improve fire protection in the building”.

Workers activated a system that mistakenly released Pyrogen aerosol, a chemical fire retardant which is normally intended to deprive fire of oxygen, the bank said. A security guard and seven contractors died.

Bangkok’s Erawan medical emergency centre said five people died at the site of the accident and three died later at a hospital. It said the apparent cause of death was suffocation from insufficient oxygen.

Seven other people suffered suffocation-related injuries, including four who were in a serious condition.

PA