SAMUT PRAKAN: Two elderly women were confirmed killed and 28 other people injured when a PTT gas pipe exploded in a ball of fire in Bang Bo district on Thursday afternoon.
People ran in panic from nearby homes, some of which were seen in flames. Students fled in fear from an adjoining school.
Two elderly women were killed, both in their 80s and one of them bed-ridden.
Pol Maj Gen Yingyos Thepchamnong, police spokesman, said the gas pipe exploded on 200 Years Road, opposite Preng police station in Bang Bo district.
Flames quickly spread, and residents of nearby houses fled to safety.
Other residents were evacuated by police.
Chaipoj Charoonpong, deputy Samut Prakan governor, confirmed two elderly women were killed. They were Mali Boonman, 81, who was bed-ridden, and Lamai Harnhiran, 82.
He said 28 others were injured and were rushed to six hospitals.
About four houses were badly damaged and another half dozen had roof damage.
An operations centre was being set up at Wat Preng Rat Bamrung, which was very close to the explosion, to provide assistance to affected people, he said.
A cook at nearby Preng Wisutthathipbodi School said the 200 students ran for their lives, frst startled by the explosion and then terrified as flames lit up the sky. She heard three loud bangs.
Residents said a construction vehicle was filling land nearby before the pipe exploded.
Reports said 40-50 fire engines were called to the scene to battle the huge blaze.
Wutthikorn Stithit, senior executive vice president of PTT's gas business unit, said the explosion was from a PTT gas pipe leading to the Asia Industrial Estate Suvaranabhumi.
A PTT press statement said the explosion occurred after natural gas leaked from a pipe and caught fire about 12.55pm.
Early reports said the explosion occurred at the Asia Industrial Estate Suvarnabhumi. This was later corrected.
Supat Sawadchuto, director of the Asia Industrial Estate Suvarnabhumi, said the explosion was about 5km away.
The blaze was brought under control by late afternoon.
Devastation at the scene of the explosion of a gas pipeline in Samut Prakan on Thursday. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)
(Photo: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)
Explosion-damaged cars that were parked in front of Preng police station in Bang Bo district, Samut Prakan. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)