Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday ordered an investigation into a massive blaze that tore through a nightclub, killing at least 14 people.
The fire broke out at about 1am at the Mountain B nightclub in Sattahip, about 150km southeast of Bangkok.
Video footage posted by a rescue service showed desperate revelers fleeing the club screaming, their clothes ablaze, as a huge fire raged in the background.
The Sawang Rojanathammasathan Rescue Foundation said 13 people were killed and more than 40 injured, 14 of them seriously.
The service said the blaze was accelerated by flammable acoustic foam on the walls of the club, and it took firefighters more than three hours to bring it under control.
Prayut offered condolences to the victims’ families and said he had ordered a probe into the fire.
The dead — four women and nine men — were found mostly crowded by the entrance and in the bathroom, their bodies severely burned, the service said.
They were aged 17 to 49, and all are believed to have been Thai citizens.
“There is no death related to foreigners,” Boonsong Yingyong, a police lieutenant colonel at the Phlu Ta Luang police station, which oversees the area where the blaze occurred, told Agence France-Presse by telephone.
One of the victims was the singer of the band playing at the club, his mother told local media.
“I don’t know what to say. The death came all of a sudden,” Premjai Sae-Oung told reporters.
She said a musician friend who escaped the blaze told her the fire broke out in front of the band and spread rapidly.
Images of the aftermath showed how the fire had turned the inside of the club into a blackened wreck, with the charred metal frames of furniture scattered among ashes.
Engineers yesterday were inspecting the one-story building amid fears that it could collapse.
Thai Minister of the Interior Anupong Paochinda told reporters it appeared that the Mountain B club was operating “without permission” to run as an entertainment venue.
Concerns have long been raised about Thailand’s lax approach to safety regulations, particularly in its countless bars and nightclubs.
A blaze erupted at a New Year’s Eve party at Bangkok’s swanky Santika club in 2009, killing 67 people.
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