Death toll in Bangkok blaze on Sunday (June 26) rises to two, witness describes horror event


Image from The Nation Thailand/ANN

BANGKOK, June 26 (The Nation Thailand/ANN): Another charred body was found on the second floor of a three-story shophouse building in Bangkok’s Sampheng area on Sunday, raising the death toll in the fire to two, police said.

The two bodies, both burned beyond recognition, were believed those of missing workers at Ratchawong Rungruang Co Ltd. Their friend, who escaped the fire, told police that a male worker, identified as Phetduang, 34, and a female worker named Jiraphat Soommark, 52, went missing during the blaze.

The bodies have been removed for identification.

Firefighters battling the blaze found a charred body near a shelf on the ground floor of the shop, which sells cloth, plastic and paper bags as well as packaging boxes. The second body was discovered on the second floor after the fire had been extinguished.

Twenty fire engines attended the scene after Chakkawad police station was alerted to the blaze at 11.30am.

Witnesses told police the fire started in an electricity transformer in front of the building and spread quickly to the second floor before engulfing the ground floor and third floor. Goods stored on the ground and second floors apparently contributed to the rapid spread of the flames.

Two cars parked in front of the shop also suffered severe fire damage.

Firefighters used 20 hoses to try to control the blaze before calling for another fire engine from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to help douse the flames.

They took over three hours to put out the fire, which also left nine local residents and volunteer firefighters in need of treatment for smoke inhalation. They were sent to the nearby Klang Hospital and Hua Chiew Hospital for treatment.

Jittra Atjai, 34, an employee of the shop, told police that a team of Metropolitan Electricity Authority workers came to fix power cables in front of the shop at 11am. The cables were close to the second floor of the shophouse building.

Jittra said after the MEA workers left, she heard sounds of a short circuit from the power cables so she came out to take a look.

She said she and other vendors were criticising the MEA workers for not tidying the cables away, leading to the short circuit, when they witnessed liquid pouring from the transformer, followed by two explosions.

She said she ran for her life to the opposite side of the road and watched in horror as the fire spread from the transformer to the building.

She said her two friends were working inside.

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

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