Thailand nightclub fire kills at least 14 people with cause unknown

Fire broke out in the Mountain B pub about 100 miles southeast of the capital Bangkok

Fourteen people were killed and dozens badly injured when a fire broke out early on Friday at a crowded music pub in eastern Thailand, police and rescue workers said.

At least a dozen survivors were in critical condition.

Police said the fire was reported around 12.45am local time.

Video circulating on social media showed people fleeing the pub while thick black smoke billowed from the door and then the entrance through which people were escaping was suddenly engulfed in flames.

Several people emerged from the pub with their clothing on fire. Rescue workers said more than three dozen people were injured.

The Mountain B pub in Sattahip district of Chonburi province, about 100 miles south-east of Bangkok, was lined with flammable soundproofing, and it took two hours for firefighters to put out the blaze, Manop Theprith of a private emergency rescue service group told Thailand’s PPTV television news.

His group said 40 people had been injured.

Here is all you need to know about the blaze this morning:

What has the nightclub said?

A spokesman said the pub’s owner and staff were giving statements at the police station and the forensic team would be collecting evidence at the scene.

Police said the fire was reported around 12.45am on Friday (6.45am BST).

Several witnesses described seeing smoke and fire on the ceiling near the venue’s stage followed by the sound of explosions.

A policeman stands by the burned facade of the Mountain B nightclub after a deadly fire in Sattahip district in Thailand’s Chonburi province on August 5, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP) (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

What have witnesses said?

Several witnesses described seeing smoke and fire on the ceiling near the stage, followed by explosions.

“The fire started at the top right corner of the stage,” a witness identified only as Nana told PPTV.

“The singer must have seen it too, so he shouted ‘fire’ and threw away the microphone.”

“I am quite shocked. But I am lucky that when I saw the fire, I could get myself together and get out of there,” she said, adding that she saw several pub security guards with their clothing on fire.

A waitress, Thanyapat Sornsuwanhiran, told Thai television reporters that she also saw smoke near the stage.

“I shouted ‘fire’ to customers, and I was near the doors, so I directed them out. I kept shouting ‘fire, fire’ and the security guards were also helping lead people out,” she said.

A DJ at the pub who did not identify himself told PPTV that the fire had spread quickly, in about a minute, when he heard the sound of an explosion, shattering windows.

What have emergency services said?

Thirteen people died at the scene and another person with burns over 90 per cent of his body died later, police, rescuers and Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital said.

The hospital said 15 patients required intubation, with most suffering third-degree burns over more than 60 per cent of their bodies.

Two patients were transferred to a hospital in Bangkok for advanced treatment.

“All the patients are considered to be in critical condition,” said Capt Anucha Likitvong, chief of the hospital’s medical team.

“In a medical sense, the situation for patients suffering from this degree of burns can change sharply in the next 48 hours.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation, provincial police chief Maj Gen Atthasit Kijjahan told PPTV.

He said the pub’s owner and staff were giving statements to police and investigators were collecting evidence.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha urged that business operators and officials ensure that safety measures are in place for entertainment venues nationwide, especially in areas with large numbers of tourists arriving after measures to control the coronavirus were eased.

Not first deadly nightclub fire Thailand has seen

One of Thailand’s deadliest fires in recent decades was at a nightclub in the capital, Bangkok, during a 2008-2009 New Year’s Eve celebration, when 66 people were killed and more 200 injured.

That blaze at the Santika nightclub also began on the ceiling above a stage, apparently sparked by an indoors fireworks display.

Toxic smoke flooded the venue as the entire club caught fire.