Fatal gas cylinder explosion kills student during fire drill in Bangkok

PHOTO: Sanook

A shocking gas cylinder explosion occurred at a school in Bangkok’s Nang Loeng area during a fire drill, resulting in a student’s death and the injury of several others. Despite swift medical assistance from teachers and fellow students, the severity of the event led to tragic consequences.

The local authorities were alerted about the incident by the school’s security staff. The incident occurred near the Government House at around 11.15am. Officers from the Nang Loeng police station together with various rescue volunteers promptly arrived to assess the situation and administer aid.

Upon arrival, they spotted injured individuals scattered across the lawn in front of the flagpole. While students and teachers were actively assisting the wounded, one body was discovered near the school’s fence. The deceased, a 12th grade student, was flung by the explosive force generated during the fire drill demonstration, Sanook reported.

The demonstration began earlier that morning around 11:00am, with the appropriate authorities demonstrating fire control procedures and evacuation techniques to the students. This involved opening a 20-kilogram gas cylinder and igniting a controlled fire to show the students how to put out minor fires. However, a gas leak followed eventually leading to an explosion that claimed the student’s life and injured several others.

The explosion also propelled the demonstrating officer several metres away from the point of impact. The loud blast resonated across the school, causing widespread alarm and panic. Anyawut Pothisarn, a representative from the Ruamkatanyu Foundation, said the school was conducting a fire drill at the time of the incident but it remained unknown whether the deceased student was participating in the drill or waiting his turn.

Further inspection revealed that the gas cylinder involved was an ordinary 900-pound unit. After the incident, the remaining students were secured in safe areas as the school premises were temporarily closed to prevent further confusion. Parents were urged to stay calm as the children were safe inside their classrooms while officers carried out their duties in the cordoned-off area.

While the exact cause of the explosion is yet to be confirmed, it is believed that a pressure build-up in the gas cylinder might be the cause. This incident marked a first, since these cylinders often contain safety valves. Working assumptions point to possible solar heating leading to pressure expansion, a phenomenon that can occur even within objects such as the recent news-breaking Titan submarines. However, final conclusions await an expert investigation.

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