Seventeen people were injured - 10 of them seriously - when an explosion occurred yesterday at a shop selling Buddhist ritual offerings in Ang Thong's Wiset Chaichan district.
Following the 8.50am explosion report, police went to the “Aor Rungroj” townhouse shop near the district market to find the building destroyed by the impact of the explosion. Nearby shops, including a bank, and parked motorcycles were also damaged. Goods were blown away onto the street in a radius of about 40 square metres.
An initial police probe found that the shop, owned by 70-year-old Achara Kijcharoenrungroj, also sold fireworks and giant firecrackers, and the explosion might have been caused by the chemical reaction of long-stored firecrackers or fireworks, said Wiset Chaichan superintendent Pol Colonel Peerapan Chanthien. Police have not yet ruled out a cooking gas explosion, he added.
Forensic police and bomb experts are inspecting the scene to determine the cause of the explosion.
The Wiset Chaichan Municipality has sealed the building for structural inspection, as many feared the building might collapse, said Ang Thong Governor Pawin Chamniprasat. Initial inspection by the authorities found the shop had a proper licence to sell explosive materials, he added.
Pawin and senior Army officers later visited the five victims at Ang Thong Hospital, which included Captain Janya Kijcharoenrungroj, 36, an officer in the office of the Defence Ministry permanent secretary and also the shop owner’s daughter who sustained facial wounds and eye injuries. She recalled that she had visited her hometown during the four-day holiday period and was helping her mother and sister to sell goods at the shop when the explosion occurred. She fell to the ground and was rushed to the hospital along with her mother, who sustained injuries on her head and arms.