Thai police charge 2 executives over bank accident that killed eight

A Thai police officer provides security in front of the building where fire suppression chemicals were accidentally released at the Siam Commercial Bank building in Bangkok.
A Thai police officer provides security in front of the building where fire suppression chemicals were accidentally released at the Siam Commercial Bank building in Bangkok. PHOTO: EPA

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Two executives at a fire-fighting system supplier have been charged with negligence after an accident in which eight people were killed at the headquarters of Siam Commercial Bank, Thai police said on Wednesday (March 16).

Contractors working on an upgrade to the building's chemical fire extinguishers late on Sunday accidentally triggered an extinguisher, the bank said, releasing a chemical retardant that may have starved the area of oxygen.

Police charged Napong Suksanguan and Adisorn Poda, executive directors at fire fighting systems firm Mega Planet Co Ltd, with negligence leading to injury and death, said Panudech Sukvong, head of a police station near the accident site.

Both men have denied the charges and have been released on bail, police said.

"We will be gathering witnesses, documents and we'll be investigating further to see who else might be involved in this negligence," said Panudech.

The pair face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty and a fine of up to 200,000 baht (S$7,858), Panudech said.

Executives at Mega Planet were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

Siam Commercial Bank is Thailand's oldest commercial bank and the country's third largest lender by assets.

In February 2015, a fire broke out at the bank's headquarters located in the north of the Thai capital, Bangkok, killing one fireman.