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Chemical leak leaves 8 dead at Bangkok bank

Pyrogen gas at a bank's headquarters has killed eight people after it "exhausted all the oxygen in the area." The incident at Thailand's oldest commercial bank was blamed on contractors installing a fire security system.

A chemical leak at the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) headquarters late Sunday killed eight people and injured seven others in Bangkok, according to a statement from Thailand's oldest commercial bank.

The bank said preliminary police investigations show the incident was caused by "negligence of contractors who were hired to make additional improvements to the building's fire security system."

"While carrying out their tasks, a chemical agent used as a fire extinguisher, pyrogen gas, was inadvertently activated and exhausted all the oxygen in the area," the statement said, referring to the contractors.

"As a result, there was loss of life and injuries, with the latest toll being eight dead and seven injured. The injured are now being treated in hospitals," the bank added.

The SCB said the incident was under control, adding that "concerned authorities" will continue investigations to establish culpability.

Bangkok Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sanit Mahathavorn said on Monday that authorities are prepared to charge the contractors with lethal negligence, Thai state broadcaster PBS reported.

Mahathavorn noted that forensic police will continue to inspect the area in a bid to determine the "actual cause" of the incident.

The bank said the accident would not hamper activities at its headquarters, adding that all SCB branches would be open on Monday.

The SCB is Thailand's oldest commercial bank and third largest in terms of assets

The SCB is Thailand's oldest commercial bank and third-largest in terms of assets