A huge fireworks explosion at a Lunar New Year celebration in Thailand left four people dead and almost 90 injured, while more than 100 homes were set ablaze, officials said yesterday.
Authorities believe the blast late on Tuesday was caused by flames from a misfired firework, which set off a pile of unused rockets at the display in the town of Suphan Buri, about 100km northwest of Bangkok.
Three male organizers were killed instantly, local government official Somjate Phromsunthorn saud, while a female spectator died of her injuries early yesterday.
The blast sent a huge cloud of smoke into the air and briefly deafened spectators, local media reports said.
Television images showed the skeletal remains of homes and vehicles that were engulfed when flaming debris from the blast shot into a residential area.
One witness, Krianee Kitpat, said she was standing in front of her home when the accident happened.
“I saw the fireworks coming directly towards my house and ran inside,” she said, adding that she was injured by shards of glass as the impact of the projectile shattered a fish tank.
Suran Sahaidee, a monk from a nearby Buddhist temple, told Thailand’s TNN channel that the blast happened in the third display of the evening.
“The fireworks exploded at a low level and then fell into a tent where they were storing the fireworks and it caused a huge blast and a fire,” he said.
Authorities set up tents on Tuesday night to house those evacuated from the area.
The New Year celebration was attended by Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chumpol Silpa-archa and his brother, former Thai prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa. Neither were believed to have been hurt.
Thailand has a large ethnic Chinese population and the advent of the Year of the Dragon has been widely celebrated across the country.