At least 14 people died in Thailand in the fire of a nightclub near the tourist city of Pattaya (east), on the night of Thursday to Friday, one of the deadliest disasters since 2009 which questions respect safety rules.
A new report from local relief reported in the afternoon a 14th death, after the 13 announced earlier – four women and ten men. They were between 17 and 49 years old, all Thai.
About 40 injured were also recorded, including more than a dozen seriously affected.
The fire broke out around 1 a.m. local time, at Mountain B, in the Sattahip district, not far from the seaside resort of Pattaya, about 180 kilometers from the capital Bangkok.
The fire was contained three hours later, a member of the Sawang Rojanathammasathan Foundation rescue team told AFP.
The presence on the walls of acoustic foam, supposed to isolate the building from outside noise, favored the spread of the fire and complicated the task of the firefighters, the rescuers said in a press release.
A video they shared shows the building in flames, from which several people try to escape, clothes on fire, in the middle of thick black smoke.
Other images released by Thai media show the charred interior of the nightclub, where tables and chairs lie on the ground.
Several hours after the fire, the one-story building was inspected by engineers, fearing the roof would collapse.
“I felt like there was a short circuit behind the DJ, and within a minute there was a power cut,” said Chalit Chotisupakarn, who managed to escape .
“I ran towards the entrance. I couldn’t see anything, everything was dark. Everyone was shouting “Get out, get out”. I only insisted and insisted. People had caught fire,” he explained, his arm in a sling.
One of the deceased victims is the lead singer of a band that was performing that night.
A musician friend of his son, who survived, “told me that the fire started near where he was singing. It happened so fast because of the foam,” his mother, Premjai Sae-Oung, told the media.
“I asked the relevant agencies last night to investigate and expedite compensation and support for the victims,” said Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.
He pleaded for a tightening of safety standards, highlighting the negative image for the country’s tourist attractiveness sent abroad by the fire.
Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda told reporters that Mountain B was operating as a “no permission” entertainment venue.
The owner had not received the agreement of the authorities for his establishment, registered as a restaurant, to be a nightclub, said Sompong Chingduang, deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police.
Basic safety rules are frequently ignored in Thailand, a popular destination for Western and Asian visitors, which recently eased entry requirements to revive tourism, which has stalled during the coronavirus pandemic.
On January 1, 2009, a fire in a Bangkok nightclub, the Santika, killed 67 people, including three Singaporeans, a Japanese and a Burmese. Many Western tourists had been injured.
The fire had taken because of fireworks fired at the time of the rock group “Burn”. The owner of the establishment had been sentenced for negligence to three years in prison, as well as the owner of the company which had installed the lights.
In 2012, four people died in a nightclub fire in the tourist town of Phukhet (south), caused by an electrical problem.