Firemen close to extinguishing Samut Prakan dump fire

THAILAND - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) sent in 150 fire-fighters and 34 fire engines, plus heavy machines to tackle the blaze on the 150-rai dump.

Backhoes were used to dig up the garbage so water could be poured into the heart of fire while two trucks with high-pressure systems shot water into the air to catch smog and debris, according to BMA disaster prevention and mitigation office director Pol Colonel Pichai Kriangwattanasiri.

BMA spokeswoman Tridao Apaiwong said they hoped to extinguish the fire by last night, so that city officials could hand over remaining works to tambon Praek Sa, the Army and volunteers.

There was rain across 20 per cent of Bangkok yesterday but none at the fire site, Pichai's deputy Surakiat Limcharoen said. He expressed concern that air at the site still had sulphur dioxide at 0.5 parts per million (0.2 ppm is standard) and if the gas remained and mixed with water, it could produce acid rain.

"The Pollution Control Depart-ment is overseeing the surrounding area," he said.

"Nearby residents should be careful not to use rain water during this period for drinking and they should alert the responsible district office about unusual withered trees."

Meanwhile, a fire at an old garbage dump in Muang district in Surat Thani, which started on Thursday and spread over a five-rai section of the dump's 41-rai area, has also been put out, an informed source reported yesterday.

Most officials who came with 30 fire engines to put out the fire had returned to their bases by late yesterday, leaving only some provincial disaster prevention officials to monitor the site.