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Toxic Smoke

Fire breaks out again at Samut Prakan's Praksa landfill

ANOTHER FIRE broke out at Samut Prakan's Praksa landfill early yesterday, forcing residents to brace for further evacuations. As of 6pm, people in Bang Na could see a haze and smell the smoke.



The landfill made headlines last month after a fire burned there for a week, forcing thousands of residents to flee noxious fumes that blanketed several districts of eastern Bangkok. The cause of that fire is still under investigation.

Residents yesterday urged authorities to put out the latest fire quickly to prevent the spread of harmful gases.

As local fire-fighters tried to put out the fire, which started at 4am, Bangkok Metropolitan Adminis-tration Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office director Pol Colonel Pichai Kriangwattanasiri said if the situation did not improve later yesterday, the city would dispatch fire-fighters and water trucks there without waiting for a request.

Resident Namkhang Budsarat, 53, said locals' fears that last month's fire had never been properly extinguished were confirmed yesterday. "Who will be responsible for the fire? I don't want money from anyone; all I want is safety for my life and property. I want the authorities to put out the fire so we can sleep worry-free," she added.

Residents Suchat Nakkanok, 47, and Thanin Pimsorn, 53, expressed worries that toxic fumes would spread, and said many residents were packing their belongings to evacuate, if necessary. Another resident, Kanthiya Marlo, 35, said the fire in March prompted her to take her pet dogs to a veterinary hospital, where she spent thousands of baht because the pets were sensitive to toxic fumes.

Bang Pu Police Station superintendent Pol Colonel Wichit Boonchinwutthikul said two landfill tenants had been interviewed in connection to the fire, adding that so far no state agency had filed a police complaint. The police probe into an infant's hospitalisation, which has been blamed on the fumes, was pending a doctor's confirmation, he said, adding the probe should be concluded by the end of this month.

As for yesterday's fire, police would summon the landfill owner and tenants for questioning on the site's fire-prevention provisions and other issues.




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