BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Erawan Medical Centre on Thursday morning (April 11) confirmed that two people were killed and 20 others injured in a fire on Wednesday at the CentralWorld shopping mall in Bangkok.
The centre said one dead victim was found at the scene - a staff member who jumped out of a fourth-floor window - and the other fatality, identified as Arthit Khamsai, 50, was pronounced dead at Chulalongkorn Hospital.
Among the 20 victims who suffered injuries, mostly from smoke inhalation, six were male and 14 were female.
Six were later released, while 14 remained at hospitals. Five were at Police General Hospital, six at Chulalongkorn Hospital, and three at Phayathai Hospital, the centre reported.
The shopping mall issued a letter to inform all relevant parties that it would open on Thursday at 2pm.
The mall's operator, Central Pattana, in another press statement issued on Thursday, responded to comments that fire alarms did not ring during the incident. The company said that the mall applied a sectional alarm system.
This was intended to prevent unnecessary panic if all the mall's alarms are ringing at the same time, which could lead to accidents during evacuation.
On the day of the fire, the alarm at the B2 floor and eighth floor rang, the company said, adding that the mall has smoke detection devices and evacuation situation assessment mechanisms in place.
The company said the mall immediately announced that people should leave the premises and security guards, who had been trained in regular drills, were at designated points to assist evacuation.
Flames and smoke from the blaze at a document storage room on the eighth floor of the mall were visible from a distance, prompting many people to dash to the mall's carpark in a panic to get their cars out.
Pathum Wan Police Station was alerted to the fire at 5.49pm local time, but police officers, firefighters and water trucks found it difficult to get to the site due to heavy traffic.
The CentralWorld shopping mall is situated in Bangkok's business district and is always crowded.
Mr Pinit Arayasilapathorn, the director of Pathum Wan district, said in a TV interview that the fire broke out on the eighth floor of the 55-storey shopping mall.
He added that the fire was brought under control quickly, but the staff member terrified by the blaze jumped out of the window and died.
Correction note: This story has been edited to reflect that the fire took place at the mall and not the nearby hotel.