On May 5, a fatal fire broke out at the BST Elastomers facility in Maptaphut Industrial Estate in Rayong, Thailand. The fire, which broke out in a toluene vessel, resulted in eleven fatalities and 141 injuries. BST Elastomers produces synthetic rubber for automobile tyres, automobile parts, shoe soles, sporting goods, and other rubber products, and toluene is a solvent used in synthetic rubber production. At the time of the incident, during a heavy storm, the facility was in full shut down and the process had been previously cleaned using toluene to dry out moisture. This was to be the last step in the shutdown procedure during a product grade switching process.
On May 15, Mr.Chaiyot Wongphyat, Managing Director of BST Elastomers Co. announced a compensation plan for victims and their families, and on May 17, he announced a plan to establish a THB10 million (US$300,000) fund to administer this compensation. According to a BST press release, Mr. Seni Chittakasem, Rayong Governor, and the governor have agreed in principle with the proposal. According to the company, the plant remains shut down while the accident is investigated. Capacity at the plant is 50 KTPY for butadiene rubber and 70 KTPY for styrene-butadiene rubber.