Bangkok market blaze guts 200 shops

Above: Thick smoke rising into the night sky over Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok on Sunday. Police are investigating the cause of the blaze. Left: Witnesses said they saw flames and heard sporadic explosions as strong winds fanned the fire.
Above: Thick smoke rising into the night sky over Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok on Sunday. Police are investigating the cause of the blaze.PHOTO: @I_KNEW / TWITTER

BANGKOK • A fire broke out at Thailand's famous Chatuchak weekend market on Sunday, resulting in two injuries and damage to 200 shops.

The fire, which started near Gate 1 of the market, was reported at around 9.15pm and the blaze was brought under control by firefighters about an hour later, according to the Bangkok Post.

About 20 fire trucks were deployed to the scene, The Nation newspaper reported on its website.

Witnesses said they saw flames and heard sporadic explosions.

An initial assessment found that a total of 200 shops were damaged.

The shops sold ceramics as well as wood and silk products. They were close to one another and the layout of the market had made it difficult for the firefighters to reach them.

Strong winds also helped spread the fire fast, The Nation reported.

 Witnesses said they saw flames and heard sporadic explosions as strong winds fanned the fire.
Witnesses said they saw flames and heard sporadic explosions as strong winds fanned the fire. PHOTO: @KAMOTWIT / TWITTER

Most of the shops were locked as the market had closed, forcing the firefighters to break into them to douse the flames.

Rescue volunteers posted on Twitter that two people were injured in the fire. It was not known who the two were.

Mr Waranyu Deeruesarn, a vendor at the market, said he saw columns of smoke and flames inside a shop selling silk clothes.

Ms Naruemon Sae Hoon, chairman of Chatuchak service cooperative, did not say what caused the fire, but noted that electrical outlets tended to be overloaded and electrical plugs used were of poor standard.

Police are investigating the cause of the fire.

About 200,000 people visit the market's 15,000 stalls every weekend, the Bangkok Post reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2019, with the headline 'Bangkok market blaze guts 200 shops'. Print Edition | Subscribe