A CHEMICAL accident at the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) head office in Bangkok on Sunday night has killed at least eight people and injured seven.
According to reports, workers carrying out works in the basement level accidentally triggered the chemical-based fire extinguishing system, releasing pyrogen gas, a chemical which extinguishes fire by depleting oxygen.
SCB issued a statement today, informing the public that “it was neither a fire nor an explosion”, refuting initial rumors.
It also expressed “deep regret for those affected, especially those injured and those who lost their lives during this unfortunate incident.”
Preliminary investigation by the police revealed that the incident may have been caused by “the negligence of contractors who were hired to make additional improvements to the building’s fire security system.”
Local media reported that a chemical reaction had produced a large amount of smoke, which made it difficult for the workers to find their way out from the underground level they were in.
Firemen at the scene said they had been delayed in breaking into the building as they conducted tests to determine if there was a fire after not detecting any heat from the building.
They were then slowed down by the bank’s tight security system, which blocked access to the basement and first floor, and were only able to rescue those on the ground floor.
The incident led to the death of five people on the scene due to suffocation, while three others died at the hospital after inhaling the gas.
Main image via Khaosod English.