2 Thai execs face charges after safety system mishap kills 8

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police filed negligence charges Tuesday against two executives of a fire safety company after a system being installed at the headquarters of one of Thailand's largest banks malfunctioned, killing eight people.

The accident, which also left seven people injured, occurred Sunday evening in the basement of Siam Commercial Bank's headquarters in Bangkok, where a fire safety system was being upgraded.

The bank said that contractors mistakenly activated the system and released a chemical known as Pyrogen, which deprives fire of oxygen.

Bangkok's acting police chief, Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahatavorn, said two executives from Megaplanet, the company contracted by the bank to install the system, faced charges of negligence resulting in deaths.

The executives, Adisorn Phoka and Napong Suksa-nguan, face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. They both denied any wrongdoing, Sanit said.

Police were still investigating what went wrong with the system that triggered the chemical gas to be released in the bank's basement, which was used to archive documents.

Pyrogen's website says the chemical fire retardant is "most effective in unoccupied areas" used to store documents or equipment that would be damaged by a water-based extinguishing system. It says people should avoid exposure to Pyrogen.

The bank identified those who died as a security guard and seven contractors. Medical authorities said they died of what appeared to be suffocation from insufficient oxygen.