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UPDATE: Bangkok Chinatown fire death toll jumps to 2

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Chinatown fire, photo by JS 100 Radio.

UPDATE

The death toll has risen after the fire in Bangkok’s Chinatown this morning. While 1 person was reported dead at the Sampeng market earlier today, that number has now jumped to 2. The bodies of the man and woman killed by the blaze were reportedly burnt beyond recognition. The man is identified as 34 year old Phetduang, and the woman is identified as 52 year old Jiraphat Soommark.

One body was found on the floor of a shop. The second body was discovered on the second floor of the shop after the fire had been put out. A shop employee told police that the two people killed had been workers who came to fix power cables in front of the shop.

The employee said she and other vendors were criticising the workers for not tidying the cables away, leading to a short circuit, when she saw liquid pouring from the transformer, followed by two explosions. She said she ran away terrified to the opposite side of the road as the fire spread from the transformer to the building.

The building has been declared off-limits for a safety inspection over fears it might collapse.

ORIGINAL STORY

One person died in a fire in Bangkok’s Chinatown today. The blaze broke out in the historic Sampeng market in Samphanthawong district, located beside the Chao Phraya River. Details of the victim’s identity haven’t been released yet.

Terrified shoppers ran for their lives as the blaze gutted 5 houses before firefighters arrived on the scene to put out the flames. Some rescue volunteers choked on the smoke and were rushed to Klang Hospital. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt was reportedly on his way to inspect the scene.

The fire is believed to have been caused by a transformer exploding at a 3 storey shophouse, according to Thai media outlet JS 100 Radio. It is believed the flames then spread to cars parked in front of it.

The market has a rich history, as Chinese immigrants settled there in 1782, the year Bangkok became Thailand’s capital.

This news comes after a fire gutted about 30 houses in the city’s Pathumwan district last week. Locals whose homes were burned to the ground were housed at a temporary shelter near a community centre and received relief services. The National Housing Authority has offered the victims free accommodation for 1 month. Four of the locals suffered from smoke inhalation, and traffic in the area was closed to help a bedridden patient reach King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.

SOURCE: Sanook | JS 100 Radio

 

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A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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