An Exploding Fire Extinguisher That Killed a Student Has No Safety Valve

A fire extinguisher exploded during a school’s annual fire drill Friday, killing one student and injuring 21 others at Rajavinit Mathayom School in Bangkok’s Dusit district.

The incident occurred around 11:00 a.m., according to investigators at the Nang Loeng Police Station, during the Samsen firefighters’ practise of fire control and fire evacuation for students. The tank exploded violently when they started a fire to demonstrate the basics of fire extinguishment. A loud noise erupted throughout the school, causing many people to be greatly frightened.


The fire extinguisher hits a student named Mr. Khumthong Premani, 17, who was seated watching in front of the shrine. As a result of the explosion, he perished in an instant. His body was thrown onto the corridor in front of the classroom in the school building, hardly 10 metres from the explosion. Several injured students sobbed in the courtyard in front of the flag pole. They were brought to the hospital by the rescuers.


debris of a fire extinguisher

According to preliminary forensics investigation, the exploding fire extinguisher had simply been loaded with more gas and left in the sun for an extended period of time until the temperature rose, causing the pressure to rise and explode due to the lack of a safety valve installed.

Treenuch Thienthong, an Education minister said it was the first time in six years that the school had held a fire drill, and that it was coordinated by Bangkok’s fire department. She said the department hadn’t experienced such an accident before during the many drills it has conducted at schools.

A policeman and volunteers cover a victim with green sheet, at an explosion site at Rajavinit Mathayom School, Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, June 23, 2023. (Khaosod Photo)

Chatchart Sitthiphan, Governor of Bangkok, said the fire extinguisher in this incident was 6 years old and was a carbon dioxide tank with a pressure of 800 PSI or higher, which was different from the chemical fire extinguishers installed in general communities, which have a pressure of about 100 PSI. The training team did not utilise this tank in demonstrations; it was just put in the school courtyard during a period of intense sunlight.

Chatchart stated that it is now difficult to verify who owns the fire extinguisher between the trainer and or the BMA department because there were many fire exercises when there were not enough tanks. As a result, the trainers brought their own fire extinguishers.


Following that, police officers from Nang Loeng Police Station questioned the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office’s demonstration team in Bangkok’s Samsen District about the facts and details of the fire extinguishers, as well as the principles of work for the firefighting demonstration, to decide if it was negligence or a risk to put the fire extinguisher in such a way.

Forensic experts investigate at an explosion site in Rajavinit Mathayom School in Bangkok’s Dusit district. (Khaosod Photo)

Police Colonel Ratthanon Ekthitikulphat, Superintendent of the Nang Loeng Police Station, said that the officers charged three members of the fire demonstration team with two charges, namely Section 291, who acts recklessly and that action causes the death of others, and Section 390, who acts recklessly and that action causes serious harm to others.