Eight people, five of them women, were injured in the early hours today when an explosion went off at a newly opened laundry shop in Din Daeng district, Bangkok.
Police suspected a gas leak to be the cause of the explosion. They said the Chinese-made coin-operated laundry machines in the shop are powered by cooking gas and some eyewitnesses told police they smelled leaked gas shortly before the blast.
Victims, aged between 15 and 61, were rushed to nearby hospitals after the incident, said Pol Lt Adisak Seniyut, a Sutthisan police investigator. He was alerted to the explosion at 2.30am.
Phiraphong Chaiyaburi and Atthaphon Kongsuk who witnessed the explosion said they were among a number of customers visiting the laundry shop in Soi Inthamara 36 for a free service offered by the shop owner at around 2am today.
The two eyewitnesses said as they were waiting in line for their turn they smelled something they suspected to be leaked gas, prompting them to leave the shop. They said they tried to find someone to alert the owner of the laundry shop.
Police inspecting the explosion scene found six 48kg cooking gas cylinders in the shop that was partially damaged in the explosion. The shop was housed in a three-storey building.
Shops next to the laundry shop, a few noodle stalls on the other side of the road and vehicles parked nearby were also damaged.
Kawin Nithatsanacharukun, the owner of the laundry shop, said he began operating the shop only three days ago and was offering a free service to attract customers, which drew a huge number of people to the shop around the clock.